Ska band The Selecter has paid tribute to their frontman Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson following his death.

The 73-year-old musician, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2023, was part of the current line-up alongside Charley “Aitch” Bembridge and Pauline Black

On Instagram, the group wrote: “We are devastated to confirm that Selecter frontman Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson has died after a short illness.

“The world has lost a 2-Tone original, a talented musician and an absolute gentleman. We have lost our beloved friend and bandmate. RIP Gaps.”

Hendrickson worked with the group off and on over the years and shortly before his death. Management company DMF Music confirmed he died aged 73.

Black joined a fledging The Selecter, inspired by punk and reggae, in 1979 and the band released their debut album Too Much Pressure the next year.

She wrote on her Facebook page that she was “too devastated to say anything coherent at the moment” following Hendrickson’s death.

Black added that she was sharing a message from his family, which said they were “saddened to announce the passing of our dearly beloved ‘Gappa'”.

It added: “He passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 11th June 2024 in Coventry, the city where he came to fame as frontman for the 2-Tone group The Selecter.

“Gappa was actively performing with the group until he was diagnosed with cancer last year. Even then, he fought his way back from ill health to join Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra as a guest artist for their Autumn/Winter Tour 2023.

Pauline Black in a white suit jacket holding up a medal at investitures at Windsor Castle
Singer and actress Pauline Black with her OBE (Victoria Jones/PA)

“Gaps was known the world over for singing the title track on The Selecter’s debut album Too Much Pressure, he brought a captivating angst and frustration to the track as he described the trials and tribulations of daily life for the working man.

“He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.”

Alongside acts such as The Specials, Madness and The Beat, they helped forge a music scene that encompassed ska, two-tone and punk genres, with a focus on radical politics.

The band featured a mix of racial backgrounds and genders, and Black’s lyrics reflected this, addressing social issues including racism and sexism.

On the band’s post, Holland wrote: “Sending all love and condolences. Truly dear man.”

The Selecter released five top 40 singles in the UK and has continued to record and perform live, with their latest album Human Algebra released in 2023.