THE OWNER of legendary bar TJs, John Sicolo died yesterday morning, aged 66.

Mr Sicolo, who has owned the bar for almost 40 years, died at the Royal Gwent hospital at 6.30am.

Mr Sicolo had been admitted to the hospital two weeks ago for a knee replacement operation and had also had an operation for deep vein thrombosis.

A post mortem is currently being carried out to determin the cause of death.

Originally one of eight, Mr Sicolo was born and raised in Newport.

He joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16 working his way up to the title of Chief Steward before he left at the age of 28.

It was then that he started running Cedar’s Rest restaurant, which later became El Sieco’s Wine Bar before he then ran it under the name of TJs.

The club attracted tens of thousands of bands including the likes of Oasis, the Manic Street Preachers and Feeder and was also featured in FHM in 1997 as one of the top 50 big nights out in the world.

But as the Argus reported last week, Mr Sicolo was struggling to find £15,000 to save the bar from closure.

Mr Sicolo’s sister in law Arlene Sicolo, 73, who is married to Mr Sicolo’s brother Ray, 74, said: “He was a great brother and a good laugh. He loved running TJs and lived for that place.

"He was very well-known in the community and very well-respected.”

Mr Sicolo had also raised thousands of pounds through the club for charities.

Mrs Sicolo said it was not known yet whether a family member will take over the running of TJs.

He leaves behind his daughter Leanne Jones who he adopted from a previous marriage, and four grandchildren.