TALENTED Irish folk musician Paul Walsh has died following what appears to have been a tragic accident.
Friends who were with the 38-year-old, from Tewkesbury, said it seemed he suffered a fatal head injury after falling over and hitting his head.
It happened in the early hours of Saturday when he went out for a cigarette at The Beckford Inn, at Beckford, near Tewkesbury.
He was staying at the hotel and enjoying a few drinks with other members of the Irish band Pholk Law, of which he was the lead singer.
A staff member found Paul lying in the garden.
Paul, of Hawthorn Way, Northway, was best friends with band mate Des O'Neill.
He said: "A lot of people are devastated as he was a lovely man.
"He was definitely a loved character and it's left a huge void."
He said Paul moved to Tewkesbury from Cork, in Ireland, about 20 years ago to get a job and make enough money to join the French Foreign Legion. But, while working for Evesham Binders in Tewkesbury, he met Louise Woodward and fell in love with her.
That led to Paul, or Corky as some people called him, making Tewkesbury his home. He and Louise had four teenage children – Daniel, Sinead, Sean and Matthew.
As well as singing in the band, Paul played the mandolin and an Irish drum called the bodhran.
Des said: "He was a huge talent, an absolutely brilliant musician."
Paul, who was a former member of the Irish Army and the British Army's Parachute Regiment, also earned praise for his charity and community work, such as walking from the Brecon Beacons to Tewkesbury for Ashchurch Playgroup in 2004.
Des said Pholk Law would carry on because Paul would have wanted that.
His funeral would be held in Ireland, where his family were, but a memorial would be held in Tewkesbury early next year, he added.
A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police confirmed that his death was not being treated as suspicious and an inquest had been opened and adjourned by the coroner's service for Worcestershire.