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loss of a legend Keith Duffy says watching his dad performing inspired his showbiz career

Singer and musician Sean Duffy, who had battled cancer for 18 years and was given the all-clear again in December, died from Covid, fibrosis and pneumonia on January 7. At his funeral, Keith told how he had looked up to his dad his entire life.

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Keith Duffy with his beloved dad Sean

Keith Duffy with his beloved dad Sean

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are performing together as Boyzlife

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are performing together as Boyzlife

Keith with Boyzone in the early days

Keith with Boyzone in the early days

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Keith Duffy with his beloved dad Sean

JUST weeks before his death earlier this month, Keith Duffy revealed how his beloved father, Sean, was still mentoring him as a singer.

Keith, who now performs with former Westlife star Brian McFadden in their hit group, Boyzlife, told how his dad was guiding him on his vocals as he recorded the duo's new album due out in early May.

Singer and musician Sean Duffy, who had battled cancer for 18 years and was given the all-clear again in December, died from Covid, fibrosis and pneumonia on January 7. At his funeral, Keith told how he had looked up to his dad his entire life.

He talked about their shared passion for music and how watching his father singing and playing when he was growing up sowed the seed for the remarkable life he would later enjoy in show business.

"I remember from such a young age going to see my dad performing," Keith said. "That's all I wanted to do. He helped me and we sang together…and plenty of times he tried to talk me out of it. It was a passion I had, and I wanted to fulfil it and he stood behind me. He gave me the confidence to go forward."

In a Boyzone, Thank You For The Memories podcast just a week before Christmas, Keith revealed how Sean had a hand in the recording of the new Boyzlife album called Old School.

"I was much more a back part of Boyzone," Keith says. "I certainly didn't do the amount of lead vocals that I do now, and for me to be in the studio up front doing all the leads with Brian is very, very exciting.

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Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are performing together as Boyzlife

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are performing together as Boyzlife

Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden are performing together as Boyzlife

"I don't have the experience that Brian has, so it takes me a little bit longer to kind of warm up, to get my feel for things, to put my own stamp on it, and to find my way.

"But when you do find your way and you get into a bit of a groove and you hear bits and pieces back, you get very excited. I get excited not only for the fans to hear the music, but my family are musical people.

"I get excited for my dad to listen to the songs. My dad is a great musician and a great singer, and a very honest man. A very, very honest man…so if you're looking for compliments, don't be playing him anything that you don't think is great.

"I know I'll always get an honest feedback from him. His feedback is very constructive, not just 'I don't like it, or it's sh*t.' He'll come back and go, 'Well, look, this could be better,' or 'you dropped down here, you're a little flat here, you could probably bring it up a little bit here,'…it's very constructive.

"And I would relay his constructive criticism into the studio, and the producer and the engineer would take into account what his point of view is, and try and fix it. And then I'll do another job on it, I'll send my dad another demo, and then my dad will go, 'Yeah, I like what you've done there, fair play to you, you've nailed that part,'…and it just gives you the confidence then.

"If your worst critic is a man that's giving you advice and they're happy with what they're listening to, well then you must be on to a good thing. The new album is amazing. Brian and I wrote the whole thing, it's a very '80s vibe, we love the '80s."

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Keith with Boyzone in the early days

Keith with Boyzone in the early days

Keith with Boyzone in the early days

Keith has been left devastated by the loss of his father with whom he had such a close bond

In his eulogy, Keith said it was "dreadful" when his dad was first diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago.

"We're all going to go some day and it's never going to be nice, but for 18 years my dad has fought cancer," he said.

"And fight it he did, and he went on to beat it, which is quite amazing. But, unfortunately, it came back again and he beat it four times."

On the Wednesday before Christmas, Sean got the results from his most recent PET scan.

Keith recalled: "His oncologist turned to him and said, "Wow, Sean, you're unbelievable…18 years later and yet again you're in remission, you're some fighter.'"

However, he said his father was "sucker-punched" in the New Year and was "overpowered by the "three opponents he had to fight at the same time, those being pneumonia, fibrosis and Covid."

Keith said Sean fought hard to the end. "I watched the man that I always considered a hero fight not for himself, but for us, to try and stay around for his grandchildren, he didn't want to go anywhere."

After five days, Sean's family asked him to stop fighting as he had done enough and it "might be time to rest." The devoted husband, father and grandad then passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family.

Keith and Brian, who now have the backing of a top UK promoter for Boyzlife, and perform with a full live band "with the bells and the whistles and the pyros and the lights", will tour everywhere from Europe to Australia, Dubai, South East Asia and South Africa this year.

And there's no doubt that Sean Duffy will be with them every step of the way.

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