LIVERPOOL, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Allan Williams, the first manager of the iconic pop band The Beatles, has died at the age of 86, according to an announcement Friday night.
Williams, born in 1930, was also the promoter of the band just before it became a global sensation.
In the early days of the Beatles, Williams personally drove a van to take the band to gigs at clubs in Hamburg, Germany. It was there that they gained the vital experience that led to their emergence on the world stage.
The group were then taken under the wing of Brian Epstein who propelled them to international stardom.
Williams continued for most of his life to be a star attraction at Beatles Conventions around the world, giving his own colorful account of the so-called "Four Lads Who Shook the World".
On social media in Liverpool, tributes started to pour in after news of Williams' death was announced Friday night.
He was the original owner of the Jacaranda club in Liverpool, whose staff described his death as "one of the saddest days in our history."
"His legacy has allowed us to remain at the heart of the Liverpool music scene for almost 60 years and his memory will live on through every band that plays our famous stage," said the Jacaranda in its tribute.
Earlier this year Williams was made a Citizen of Honor in Liverpool for the key role he had played in the emergence of a band from the city who had a major impact on world music.
Receiving the award at a civic ceremony at Liverpool town hall in May, Williams, famous for his sense of wit and humor, quipped, "It is not only the first honor I have received, it's the only honor."
He described the early days of the band in his 1975 autobiography "The man who gave the Beatles away", which was regarded as a must-read for The Beatles' fans.
In the official citation for his award, Liverpool city council said the honor was in recognition of his contribution to the music industry in the city as the original manager of The Beatles.
"He secured their first bookings in 1960 and their tour of Hamburg in Germany. He played a crucial role in establishing Beatles tourism in Liverpool, an industry now estimated to be worth 80 million pounds (nearly 99 million U.S. dollars) a year, by organizing the first conventions devoted to the band in the 1970s."
In his last major interview this year, Williams said, "Of course I remember those days, there was a lot of fun and excitement in the swinging sixties. But we didn't know we were creating history, that we were creating world history and the Beatles would become world famous. That is still a complete shock to me. The fact the group is still at the top doesn't surprise me, having known them for that long. They deserve it and I can't see anything topping them."
He concluded that interview by saying, "I'm labelled as the man who gave the Beatles away, but I didn't give them away, they gave me away. Perhaps I'll have that engraved on my tomb!"