The Streets star MIKE SKINNER was left heartbroken by the death of his father, months before his chart-topping success.

The 25-year-old rapper is devastated his father JOHN, 76, died in April (04) before seeing his son's single DRY YOUR EYES reach number one in the British charts.

Skinner explains, "My dad inspired me to make music in my bedroom, which is where my award-winning album A GRAND DON'T COME FOR FREE was created.

"He played piano accordion in the pubs and bought me cheap keyboards and guitars. I'm the youngest of four kids so I got a bit spoiled."

30/07/2004 02:36