Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman, the former guitarist of rock band UFO, has passed away at the age of 66.
“It is with a heavy heart writing this, today is my dad’s 66th birthday,” a statement issued to social media read. “He passed away earlier this afternoon.”
Continuing: “He was a brilliant, energetic, loving and most carefree person and the first man I ever loved. Everyone he came in contact with loved him – no adored him.
“I will keep everyone posted on his celebration of life. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers as his family grieves and processes everything at this time.”
Chapman, who was born in Cardiff in1954, first entered the world of music when he joined Skid Row in 1971 but left just a year later. It would be just two years later when Tonka joined UFO in support of their third studio album Phenomenon.
Tonka would enjoy two hugely successful stints with the band as well as numerous different side projects and solo work
Phil Campbell, the former Motorhead guitarist, joined a host of musicians in paying tribute to Chapman: “Just woke up to sad news of Paul Chapman passing,” he said. He was my main influence on guitar for many years and a brilliant bloke. Thoughts are with his family.”
The social media of Chapman’s former band also remembered his talents: “We send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Paul Tonka Chapman, who died yesterday, on his 66th birthday. Paul’s son broke the tragic news on Paul’s Facebook page yesterday evening. R.I.P. Tonka.”