`50s singing star Ruby Murray dies aged 61


SINGER Ruby Murray, the 1950s star dubbed the "heartbeat girl", has died. She was aged 61.

Belfast-born Ms Murray, who had lived in Britain for many years, died yesterday morning in a Torquay hospital after a long battle against alcoholism.

One of the biggest-selling female stars of the 1950s, she set a chart record for having five recordings in the top 20 simultaneously, a feat equalled only by Elvis Presley and Madonna.

Her best known hits were some of her earliest, Heartbeat and Softly Softly, which remained her theme tune for 41 years.

She first came to notice on television, appearing in Ireland for the first time at the age of 12, and later in 1954 on BBC's Quite Contrary. Frank Sinatra told her: "You're a hell of a great singer and I am your greatest fan."