Legendary New York punk rock forefather, label head and manager, Marty Thau, has passed away, sources close to the ex-New York Dolls manager say. He was aged 75.

Thau was the former executive with RCA, Cameo-Parkway and Buddha Records who founded Red Star Records – arguably America's first punk and new wave independent label – and worked with the Dolls, Richard Hell and the Ramones.

Thau left RCA to co-manage the Dolls in the early '70s and recorded the Ramones' first demos. His label released or he produced music by The Fleshtones, Suicide, Real Kids and Blondie.

Formerly living in New York City, he retired to Virginia and reportedly died last Thursday, friends say. No cause of death has been mentioned.

Thau was working on an autobiography, "Rockin' The Bowery (From the New York Dolls to Suicide)", excerpts of which have been published in Rocker magazine and online in Sensitive Skin magazine.

Co-owner of Norton Records, Miriam Linna, said: "Proud to have called him friend, and to have given a forever-home here at Norton to many of his early masters, including the Ramones, the Real Kids and the Dolls."