A 'local legend' and champion of the music scene in East Lancashire has died aged 32.

Jonathan Lindley, who was CEO and owner of Darwen's Sunbird Records, died in Royal Blackburn Hospital on Tuesday after several months of struggling with auto-immune hepatitis.

The lecturer in music at Huddersfield University was a massive force in the local music industry, starting the Sunbird Records label in his apartment, and going on to help emerging acts, giving them a platform to record and play.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jonathan and Ramsay outside Sunbird Records in Darwen

On Tuesday night, after best friend and business partner, Ramsay Lohan changed his Facebook profile picture to the Sunbird Records logo in tribute to Jonathan, there was a blackout on the social media platform as hundreds of people across Darwen, and those who knew Jonathan joined Ramsay and changed their profile pictures in solidarity.

His father, Steven Lindley posted a heartfelt tribute to his son, which read: "Dr. Jonathan Lindley, 1989 - 2022.

"It is with immense sadness that we share this: Jonathan passed away in the early hours of this morning in the ICU of Blackburn Hospital after several months struggle with auto immune hepatitis.

"Kate, Philippa and I were with him as he peacefully drifted away.

"We celebrate his short life and his inspirational work at Huddersfield University and here in Darwen with Sunbird Records - his great passion."

Lancashire Telegraph: Floral tributes have been left outside Sunbird Records for Jonathan Lindley, who died on Tuesday

There has been a huge outpouring of grief on social media, and floral tributes have been placed outside Sunbird Records in Darwen.

Best friend, Ramsay, said: "He was the CEO and owner of Sunbird Records as well as my best friend.

"He was a local legend.

"Sunbird Records was his life's work.

"It started off as a record label from his apartment, to opening a music venue in order to make revenue to support local artists and help them to make albums, fund tours and more.

"Opening a venue was way harder than he anticipated but we figured it out and started to make it profitable just before lockdown.

"After lockdown it's been a battle between random noise complaints trying to shut us down and the police misunderstanding our licence and trying to ban all forms of live music for a little bit.

Lancashire Telegraph: Floral tributes have been left outside Sunbird Records for Jonathan Lindley, who died on Tuesday

"But Jonny and the rest of the venue stayed strong and things returned to normal for a while and things were flourishing until his sad passing yesterday.

"The venue is however in safe hands, contingency is in place, and the team at Sunbird will expand and the venue is about to get another refurb.

"It will become even better at fostering local bands, artists and DJs through a new studio underneath the venue, new online and video opportunities, a bigger stage, new opening hours and more.

"This is his legacy and I promised him I wouldn't stop and I will do everything I can to push Sunbird to as big as it can get."

Hundreds of people took to social media on Tuesday to pay their respects.

Adriano Ferro from Darwen said: "Thoughts are with you all such a very sad day. R.I.P MUSIC MAN."

While Gary Barker said: "That's absolutely devastating news.

"The boy was a true pioneer."

Lancashire Telegraph: Floral tributes have been left outside Sunbird Records for Jonathan Lindley, who died on Tuesday

Gary Perkins who runs a number of bars in Darwen said: "My heart goes out to all of Jonny's family and friends at this difficult time. What an absolute gentleman RIP."

And Darren James, who runs Darwen Live, said: "No words for this. Jonny was such a lovely guy and was determined to make all genres of music in Darwen accessible to everyone.

"The success of Sunbird shows this. Sorry for your loss Steven and all the family."

Jonathan leaves sister Kate, dad Steven and mum Philippa.