Robbie Williams has paid tribute to his long-term manager, David Enthoven, who has died at the age of 72.
“My Friend, Mentor and Hero passed away today,” tweeted the singer. “David Enthoven, I love you. RIP.”
Enthoven had managed the star since he left Take That in 1996 and helped him battle addiction in the early years of his career.
The music mogul started out managing King Crimson in 1969, also steering the careers of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.
He even advised Marc Bolan’s band, T. Rex, to shorten their name, because he couldn’t spell Tyrannosaurus.
A genial, bespectacled figure, he was educated at Harrow and earned a reputation for putting his clients first.
“His tenacity in fighting for artists’ rights is the stuff of legend,” his business partner Tim Clark told the Mirror.
“He pricked the pompous, had a nickname for everyone but was so generous and kind too.
“What is much less well known is the unstinting help he gave to those who had taken a self-destructive path, for whatever reason. He has been utterly selfless in that respect.”
Enthoven established the EG record label and music management company with John Gaydon in the late 60s, immediately finding success with King Crimson’s debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.
They later signed T. Rex, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Roxy Music, but Enthoven’s career went off the rails as he battled drink and drugs in the 1980s.
He lost his home and his wife but, after sobering up, made a successful return to the music industry, setting up ie:music with Clark, a former Island Records executive, in 1992.
Together, they worked with the likes of Sia, Lily Allen, Ladyhawke, Bryan Ferry and Will Young, but their biggest client was always Williams.
Enthoven introduced the star to songwriter Guy Chambers, with whom he co-wrote Angels, and helped orchestrate his record-breaking £80 million deal with EMI.
He was also fiercely protective of the star, insisting that all employees signed a confidentiality agreement, and talked of him as a surrogate son.
At the height of Williams’ fame, Enthoven explained his managerial technique to Esquire magazine.
“I always say to Rob, ‘If you wanted an elephant to keep you amused backstage, I’d go and find [an] elephant.’
“It sounds very pandering, but it’s not, because at the end of the day, come nine o’clock at night, he’s got to get up there and do his stuff.
“The boss gets looked after because the boss delivers the bacon.”
Following news of Enthoven’s death, the Music Manager’s Forum (MMF) said in a statement: “We are very sad that long time manager and MMF supporter David Enthoven has passed away today after a short illness.
“David will be remembered as a true friend, an exemplary colleague, a helpful mentor and a truly exceptional human being.
“Big hugs David. We will miss you.”
Jamie Cullum also paid tribute on Twitter, saying: “He was a real gentleman in the truest sense”.
“My manager and dear friend David Enthoven has passed away today,” added pop singer Ladyhawke. “He has been a true guiding light to me over the years, I’ll miss you David.”