A former bass guitarist who appeared on stage with David Bowie at the Live Aid concert has died after spending two weeks on a ventilator at St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London.

Friends said Matthew Seligman, 64, who later became a lawyer, may have caught coronavirus on a visit to his brother Simon, who was himself in and out of hospital over the preceding six months and had recently died from causes unrelated to coronavirus.

Rod Campbell-Taylor, a legal colleague, remembered Seligman, who died on 17 April, as “unfailingly generous and inspiring” and a man who “was very far from anyone’s idea of a rock star lawyer”, despite his successful first career in the 1980s.

Seligman played in post-punk psychedelic band the Soft Boys, fronted by Robyn Hitchcock, after graduating from Cambridge University, and enjoyed short stints in the Thompson Twins and in Thomas Dolby’s band. “Matthew would want us to remember the good times and have a party,” Dolby said, promising to hold a candle-lit vigil on YouTube in commemoration.

The new-wave bassist went on to become a successful session musician who played with Bowie on the Absolute Beginners single and at the Live Aid concert in 1985 – as well as with solo artists such as Sinéad O’Connor and Morrissey.

He retrained in law at the beginning of the following decade, initially working on personal injury and litigation cases, including the Marchioness disaster, before switching to human rights. His legal work remained a major focus until his death.

“Even after being admitted to hospital, Matthew continued to send WhatsApp messages about his own and other people’s cases, as well as offerings of support to a staff member whose mother was also in hospital, right up to being intubated.

“Matthew’s last message to colleagues was about a case he had been working up for the previous six months on behalf of a severely disabled client, who like all his clients was bereft to learn he was in intensive care,” Campbell-Taylor said.

Despite performing to stadium crowds in his younger days, he was low-key about his musical past when a lawyer. “Although he had stories about David and Mick and others, Matthew was very far from anyone’s idea of a rock star lawyer; boyishly enthusiastic, humble, capable of showing vulnerability as he was incapable of telling a lie and utterly intolerant of any form of bullying or cruelty,” his colleague recalled.

Seligman leaves behind a son, Deji, a daughter, Lily and his partner, Mami Kanai.

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