The frontman of a top Meat Loaf tribute act has expressed his "immense sadness" at the passing of his hero.

Pete Rossi of Peat Loaf says the musician and actor - real name Michael Lee Aday - saved his life more than once.

It was revealed this morning that the singer, whose hits included Bat Out of Hell and I'd Do Anything For Love, has died aged 74.

Pete, 60, says he woke up this morning to his phone "going crazy" with reporters trying to reach him to get his thoughts on the tragic news.

Pete said: "It was the first thing I opened my eyes to. It's pretty bleak.

"It just came right out of the blue, there was no inkling of him being ill or anything like that. I was messaging him on Facebook a couple of weeks ago."

He added: "It's just so sudden, there's lots of groups dedicated to Meat Loaf online and not one of them knew anything abuotwhether he was ill.

"We don't even know what the reason for him passing was. Everyone is just dumbfounded, it's not even sunk in yet."

Pete met Meat Loaf four times over a 25-year period and the singer gave Pete his endorsement when the Troon man appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2014.

He reached the semi-final of BGT, making the final 45 out of 70,000 auditions.

"Many years before I even dreamed of what I'm doing now I was a huge fan," he said.

"The very first song I heard was off the Bat Out of Hell album. It was You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth, and it was the intro that Jim Steinman did. It was so different from what I was used to, from Sweet, and Slade, all that sort of stuff.

"It was just like a breath of fresh air and I was hooked instantly. I went out and bought the full album and the rest is history."

Pete says there are no plans for a commemorative gig at the moment.

"That thought hasn't even entered my head to be honest," he admitted. 

"I'm still trying to come to terms with it. I'm finding it hard enough. I'm absolutely gutted, his music saved my life on a few occassions.

"I just need to carry on and be an ambassador for the man and his music for as long as I'm physically able to do it.

"His legacy is going to go on forever, without me or anyone else. He's touched so many millions of people around the world and he changed their lives, he saved our lives as well. There was a time Meat was in a very black place himself.

"The way he performed, he didn't just stand up there and sing a song, he actually lived the song. He became a part of it and that's the connection, his power, his emotion, and his passion. It's incredible. There will never be anyone like him again, ever."

A statement on Meat Loaf's official Facebook page said he died with his wife by his side.

The statement said: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.

“His amazing career spanned six decades that saw him sell over 100 million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World."

In 2016 he was honoured with the Hero Award at the annual Q Awards music ceremony, which he dedicated to everyday heroes and called on people to “bring love back into this world”.

The statement continues: “Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man.

“We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time.

“From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”