'Ceilidh King' Fergie MacDonald dies aged 86

Fergie MacDonald, who was nicknamed the Ceilidh King', passed away surrounded by his family in Moidart.

‘Ceilidh King’ Fergie MacDonald dies aged 86, his family confirm Fergie MacDonald/Facebook via Supplied

The acclaimed Scottish ‘Ceilidh King’ Fergie MacDonald has died aged 86, his family have announced.

His family stated he had died at his home in Moidart, near Fort William, on Tuesday “peacefully, listening to the music he loved.”

His death comes following a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2021.

MacDonald was awarded an MBE in 2021 for his services to traditional music, after playing an important role in popularising the West Highland style of Scottish dance music.

Despite his illness, MacDonald continued to be involved in music, with his last album Barra released in 2022 – 60 years on from his first release.

He was estimated to have released about 50 records throughout his career, and topped the Scottish charts with a version of Loch Maree Islands in 1966.

In their online tribute his family said: “It’s with great sadness we tell you that our dad ‘ Fergie – The Ceilidh King’ passed away yesterday at home in Moidart peacefully surrounded by his family and listening to the music he loved so much.

“We are overwhelmed by the messages , kindness and support from you all.

“Dad was a pillar of strength and we know meant so much to so many. He gave us all a life full of joy, fun, craic and nonsense. His music and character we all knew so well will live on and continue to give us happiness and joy.”

Dozens of tributes have been paid to MacDonald on social media, including from modern trad bands Skerryvore and Skipinnish, and from the organisers of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival.

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