RIP Shane MacGowanRIP Shane MacGowan

The legendary Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has died aged 65.

The singer-songwriter, whose hits include 1987’s Fairytale of New York and A Pair of Brown Eyes, had been unwell for some time. He died following a recent hospital stay after being diagnosed with encephalitis.

MacGowan also had well-documented problems with drugs and alcohol.

His wife Victoria Mary Clarke shared an emotional note on Instagram and said that MacGowan “meant the world to me”.

A statement from MacGowan’s spokesperson confirmed he “died peacefully at 3.30am this morning (30 November) with his wife and sister by his side”.

“Prayers and the last rites were read during his passing,” he added.

On 22 November, Clarke said he had left hospital, and just a few days later she said they celebrated their wedding anniversary, and were grateful they were “still alive”.

Hailing from Kent, Shane MacGowan, the son of Irish immigrants, served as the frontman for The Pogues from 1982 until the band’s disbandment in 2014. Prior to this, he founded the Irish punk group Pogue Mahone in 1982, eventually shortened to The Pogues, and oversaw the release of seven studio albums.

A pivotal moment in MacGowan’s career was the collaborative effort with Kirsty MacColl in 1988, resulting in the iconic Christmas song “Fairytale of New York,” written by MacGowan. The track achieved significant success, reaching number two in the UK chart and earning a lasting place among the nation’s most cherished Christmas songs.

MacGowan disclosed his diagnosis of encephalitis in the previous year through a video shared on social media on New Year’s Eve. Encephalitis is a rare yet severe condition marked by inflammation of the brain, as outlined by the NHS website. Additionally, MacGowan had been utilizing a wheelchair since 2015, following an injury sustained in a fall.

Acknowledging his significant contributions to the music industry, MacGowan received a lifetime achievement award during a 60th birthday celebration at Dublin’s National Concert Hall in 2018.

In 2020, a documentary titled “Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan” was released, delving into the life of the renowned artist.

Shane MacGowan shared a close friendship with Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, who sadly passed away in July.

Expressing her deep sorrow, Clarke, MacGowan’s partner, stated, “I am incredibly fortunate to have known and loved him, receiving endless and unconditional love in return. The years we shared were filled with life, love, joy, laughter, and countless adventures. The loss is indescribable, and the yearning for one more of his radiant smiles is profound.”

Irish President Michael D Higgins acknowledged Shane MacGowan as one of “music’s greatest lyricists,” expressing immense sadness at his passing. “His words have united Irish people worldwide with their culture and history, encapsulating a myriad of human emotions in the most poetic manner,” President Higgins said.

Author Tony Parsons expressed his thoughts on internet saying, “I remember Shane MacGowan when he was in his mid-teens and coming down the Roxy in Covent Garden to bang on unattended drums in his Union jack jacket.

“A crazy kid with a dream who grew into one of the greatest talents these islands have ever know. A creative giant. Sleep well, Shane and see you at number one for Christmas.”

The musician Nick Cave called him “a true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation,” adding it was “a very sad day.”

The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess also paid tribute, saying MacGowan had “a life lived to the full”.

“A lyrical genius. An inspiration to so many of us who wanted to be in bands. I followed The Pogues to far flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed,” he also said on social media.

Derry Girls actor Siobhan McSweeney has said that Shane MacGowan “was the voice of London for us Irish” and said when she was scared about moving to the capital “he lured me over with songs about chancers, drinkers, lovers, poets and scoundrels”.

Fairytale of New York producer Steve Lillywhite told BBC Radio 5 Live MacGowan was “truly a poet”, crediting him for inventing “a new style of music that was sort of the punk attitude with traditional Irish rhythms”.

MacGowan’s bandmate, Spider Stacy also paid tribute with a band photo.

By Jammy

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