Songwriters behind hits for Celine Dion and Justin Bieber are helping fulfil the dying wish of a man who died after catching Covid.

Watford-born Riccardo Criscenti, known to friends as Rick, had a lifelong dream to have his music heard worldwide.

The 45-year-old died of a heart attack in January 2022 after contracting the virus, but to honour his memory The Song Written Academy, where he was studying, has released his song The Sea Carried Away My Tears.

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It reached number three on the iTunes chart and 22 on the UK National chart just 24 hours after it was released on June 15.

The academy, which is responsible songs by Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion and Backstreet Boys, wants Riccardo's song to top the charts.

The academy’s founder and director Martin Sutton said: “He deserved a real shot at his lifelong dream: to reach out to the world with his songs."

All proceeds will go to Riccardo's wife and six-year-old daughter, Valentina.

His wife Zdena described her husband as: “A man with a big heart, massive smile and always there when you needed him.

“He was a fantastic father, devoted husband who lived 100 per cent for his family; a piece of the puzzle which completed the perfect picture of our family.”

Watford Observer: A message Mr Criscenti found in a fortune cookie. Picture: Heraldist IncA message Mr Criscenti found in a fortune cookie. Picture: Heraldist Inc

She added: “He’s gone far too early and left this massive hole in our lives.

“But we’ve been blessed with all these lovely people around, who worked with Rick on his music.

“I feel so proud of Rick’s achievement and so privileged to be part of this journey.”

Riccardo came from a mixed Sicilian and English background. He was born in Watford, grew up in Hemel Hempstead and settled in Dunstable with his family.

He worked as a full-time musician, who would sing for people in care homes and young people with learning difficulties.

To purchase The Sea Carries Away My Tears, featuring The Songwriting Academy, visit iTunes or Amazon.

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