Shelley formed the group in 1976 and they achieved commercial success with hits including Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).
His brother, Gary John McNeish, posted on Facebook: “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, is tell you my brother Pete Shelley had a heart attack this morning and passed away.”
The band also confirmed his death on their official Twitter page.
“It’s with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks,” the post read.
In another tweet, the band said: “Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world.”
Fans and friends are paying tribute to the late singer on social media.
Singer Tim Burgess tweeted: “Farewell Pete Shelley. The first album I ever owned was Love Bites By Buzzcocks.”
One fan wrote: “The world is sad enough right now without the loss of Pete Shelley. Gone way too soon”.
Another fan, named Doug Shaw, tweeted: “Sad to learn of the death of Pete Shelley, The Buzzcocks were one of my favourite punk bands. Loved their ability to write excellent short sharp singles.”
Singer Tracey Thorn, formerly of Everything But The Girl, said: “Oh God but I loved Buzzcocks. And Pete Shelley was an amazing songwriter. ‘But after all life’s only death’s recompense.’ RIP”.
Shelley, real name Peter Campbell McNeish, was born in Leigh, a town in Greater Manchester.
The band, which he formed with Howard Devoto, debuted in 1976 when they opened for the Sex Pistols in Manchester.
Buzzcocks released their first EP, Spiral Scratch, on their own independent label in 1977.
When Devoto left the band shortly afterwards, Shelley took over as lead vocalist and chief songwriter.
Shelley went onto release music as a solo artist in the 1980s and played with various musicians during his career, including The Invisible Girls.
He briefly reunited with Devoto to make the LP Buzzkunst, released in 2002.