Life-long Manchester United supporter David Gray achieved world-wide fame when he released his smash-hit album White Ladder in 2000.

It was actually the second time round for the LP as the Sale-born singer had originally released it in November 1998.

It hardly scaled the heights then, but 2000 was a different story. White Ladder, with its distinctive ‘folktronic’ sound, went to Number One and stayed in the UK album chart for 151 weeks.

White Ladder was also Number One for six weeks in Ireland, selling 100,000 copies in that country alone. It is still Ireland’s biggest selling album.

Over his career, Gray has notched up 12 million album sales and has won two Ivor Novello awards and a Q award.

He has been nominated for four Brit awards – twice as Best British Male – as well as a BAFTA for his work on Amma Assante’s 2004 film A Way of Life.

Born in Sale in June 1968, Gray grew up in Altrincham before moving to Pembrokeshire. He attended Carmarthenshire College of Art and Liverpool School of Art.

His first album, A Century Ends, was released in 1993. Although popular with folk-rock fans, it was not a commercial success. His second album Flesh, released a year later, fared the same.

There was more critical acclaim for Gray’s third album Sell, Sell, Sell in 1996. One song from the album, Late Night Radio, achieved some airplay on UK radio.

Gray took a different approach with his fourth album White Ladder, using computer-generated music to accompany his voice and acoustic guitar. It paid off.

White Ladder reached Number One on August 5th 1991 and produced five singles, including Gray’s biggest hit to date – Babylon.

Sale musician David Gray in concert, November 2002

An international success, Babylon peaked at No. 5 in the UK charts in June 2000 and reached No. 57 in America’s Billboard Hot 100. Other singles from the album were Please Forgive Me, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, This Year’s Love and Sail Away.

White Ladder has sold more than three million copies in the UK, making it the 26th best-selling album of all time.

Gray’s follow-up album, A New Day at Midnight, went straight to Number One in November 2002. It enjoyed the distinction of beating Gareth Gates’ debut album What My Heart Wants to Say to the top slot.

Two singles from the album, Be Mine and The Other Side, were Top 30 hits.

Gray was back at the top of the UK charts in September 2005 with his seventh album, Life in Slow Motion. Its lead single, The One I Love, was a Top Ten hit in the UK and spent three months in the charts.

As well as touring the world extensively in his own right, Gray has been the support act for Radiohead, the Dave Matthews Band and Kirsty MacColl.

His 2009 album Draw the Line features guest appearances by Annie Lennox and American country and rock singer Jolie Holland.

British artist Joe Simpson painted a portrait of Gray in 2011. It has been shown across the UK as well as featuring in a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.