Mick Tucker Of Glam-Rock Icons The Sweet Dies

Founding member of 'Ballroom Blitz' band succumbs to leukemia.

Mick Tucker, drummer for the flamboyant pop-rock band the Sweet, died Thursday of leukemia. He was 54.

The Sweet had numerous hit singles during the '70s glam-rock era, including "Fox on the Run," "Love Is Like Oxygen" and "Ballroom Blitz," the latter of which was featured in the 1992 film "Wayne's World."

Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother five years ago to combat his leukemia. He suffered recurring infections since then and succumbed to the illness at a hospital in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England.

"He went into remission after the operation, but he's never been that strong since," band bassist Steve Priest said. "This has taken everyone by surprise."

Tucker was a founding member of the band, which called itself the Sweetshop when it formed in London in 1968.

"He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England," said Priest. "He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, but he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing."

The original lineup of the Sweet consisted of Tucker, vocalist Brian Connolly, guitarist Frank Torpey and bassist Steve Priest. Two years later, the group changed its name to the Sweet. After a series of unsuccessful singles, Torpey left and was replaced by guitarist Andy Scott.

In 1971, the band hooked up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who wrote some of the band's biggest hits, including "Blockbuster," "Hell Raiser" and "Ballroom Blitz." In 1974, the Sweet concentrated on writing their own material, including "Fox on the Run," which went Top 10 in both the U.S. and U.K. in 1975. The band's last big hit was "Love Is Like Oxygen," which was released in 1978 on the album Level Headed.

Soon after, Connelly left the band and was replaced by keyboardist Gary Moberley. The Sweet broke up in 1982, though they enjoyed several short reunions over the next 10 years. Connelly died of liver failure in 1997.

Tucker is survived by his wife, Janet, and his daughter, Ayston, who were by Tucker's side when he died. His funeral is planned for February 25.

"He was like my brother," Priest said. "He was very intelligent and passionate. He was a nice lad."