A nightclub owner who helped launch The Beatles to fame has died, aged 88.

Ray MCFall, who owned the fabled Cavern Club in the band's hometown of Liverpool, England, passed away on Wednesday (08Jan15), according to the Liverpool Echo newspaper. No further details were available as Wenn went to press.

Current director of the Cavern Club, Jon Keats, says, "It is fair to say that without Ray we wouldn't still be doing what we're doing today... It's a sad day as we say goodbye to another Cavern family member who will be missed. We'd like to offer our heartfelt condolence to Ray's family and friends at this sad time and we'd like to thank Ray for everything he did for the Cavern Club."

MCFall transformed the nightspot from a jazz venue to a rock 'n' roll club by booking bands such as The Beatles, and the group went on to play at the venue 292 times before landing a record deal.

They were spotted by manager Brian Epstein there in the early 1960s and went on to find huge success, but MCFall lost the club in 1966 when he was declared bankrupt.

Current resident musicians at the Cavern will perform a tribute to MCFall on Thursday (08Jan15) to mark his contribution to the venue's history.