HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a well-known jazz singer who died after a short illness.

Antoinette Baxter, known as Toni, died in Fair Havens Hospice, in Second Avenue, Westcliff, just a day after being admitted.

The 66-year-old leaves behind husband and musical partner Kenny Baxter.

Mr Baxter, 82, said: “We were together for 47 years. She was loved by everyone.

“I’m still a bit in shock. She was only in Fair Havens for one day, we were still sleeping in the same bed together up until the night before.

“She was always singing, right up until three or four weeks ago."

Mrs Baxter was a pop singer in the Sixties and made appearances on TV and radio. She had a minor chart hit in Canada.

She later went on to perform with her beloved husband in Kenny Baxter’s Jazz Band.

Mr Baxter added: “We had a great, wonderful life but illness caught up on her. There was 17 years difference for us, I always thought she would be looking after me at the end.

“The last couple of days has been unbelievable – I have had so many messages from people all over the country.

“I am absolutely broken hearted, she was a lovely person.”

Fellow musician Richard Dawson said: “When I left my first wife in 2010 after 27 years of marriage, Toni Baxter was the only one who said what others thought - that she knew I was unhappy.

"She said: ‘I’d rather live in a tent with someone that loved me than a palace with someone who didn’t.’

“I will never forget her wise words.”

Friend Chris Bradbery added: “Toni was not only a fabulous singer but I knew her as a loyal friend. She adored her husband and was proud to be a mother and grandmother. She will leave a gaping hole in our lives and hearts.”

To listen to Mrs Baxter singing, visit: https://youtu.be/9mpySYkKqjQ