The tributes are still flooding in for Nick Rayns, former entertainments manager at the University of East Anglia, who died on Tuesday.

Family, friends and former colleagues spoke warmly about the 'fantastic' man whose passion for music turned UEA into one of the region's premier gig venues.

His family released a statement saying: 'Nick was a fantastic partner and father. He was a man with a passion for such a wide range of things, from raising chickens to collecting first editions, coin collecting and his latest obsession; cake baking.

'We're all deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected loss, which occurred far too soon, of this kind and gentle man.

'We are all really proud of his achievements and are deeply touched by the response we have received.'

Mr Rayns worked incredibly hard for the local music scene, bringing high profile bands to the city at the peak of their fame.

A 'gentle giant', he will be remembered for making Norwich a hub for live music.

His wide reach affected thousands of students and music lovers across the city, and UEA alumni have spoken of their respect and affection for him.

Katie Hind, showbiz editor for the Sunday People and former editor of Concrete, UEA's student paper, said: 'Never was there a kinder, more enthusiastic man at UEA than Nick. He worked tirelessly to give students a better life.

'The university has lost a wonderful man, but he will be remembered by hundreds of thousands of graduates as the man who always had a smile on his face.'

Mr Rayns' larger than life personality has left a void at UEA which will be difficult to fill, and his colleagues have paid tribute to him.

Derek Bowden, chief executive of the Union of UEA Students, said: 'I think the people of Norfolk owe Nick Rayns a huge debt of gratitude.

'Over the decades he worked tirelessly to establish Norwich and especially the UEA in the Premier League of music venues in the UK.'

Di Anderson, central support and marketing manager at the Union of UEA Students, said: 'The most well-liked and respected of gentle giants, Nick was known throughout the live music industry.

'We have been inundated with good wishes and messages of condolence, and a hush of disbelief pervades.

'I have worked with Nick for 22 years and couldn't have worked with a more fun person.'

Brian Summers, UEA registrar and secretary, said: 'There will be generations of our students, past and present, who attribute some of their best memories of life on campus to the superb live acts Nick brought to Norwich.

'Our deepest sympathies are with Nick's family at this difficult time.'

Mr Rayns, from Reymerston, near Hingham, leaves behind partner of 26 years Annie and three children, Rachel, 24, Polly, 20, and Alex, 17.