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Terry Magovern, key assistant to Springsteen

RUMSON, N.J. -- Terry Magovern, a longtime assistant to rocker Bruce Springsteen, died in his sleep Monday. He was 67.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

"He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold," his longtime friend, Bob Benjamin told The Star-Ledger of Newark for an obituary in yesterday's newspaper.

"He was always there for those around him," added his son, Sean. "He was the guy you would want in the trench with you."

After several years working in Jersey shore bars, Mr. Magovern began running Big Man's West, a Red Bank nightclub owned by Springsteen's saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. After the club closed a few years later, Mr. Magovern continued working for Clemons and in 1987 joined Springsteen and the E Street Band on their "Tunnel Of Love Express Tour."

The concerts had a carnival theme, and, as each musician walked onto the stage, he handed a ticket to Mr. Magovern, who was sitting in a booth.

Mr. Magovern served as Springsteen's personal assistant, and was credited with research on Springsteen's 1995 album, "The Ghost of Tom Joad," and was identified as Springsteen's "dedicated sidekick" on 2002's "The Rising."

"He always had a twinkle in his eye, like he had inside information, but he couldn't tell you," Max Weinberg Seven guitarist Jimmy Vivino told the Asbury Park Press.