The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies elderly 59

Andy Rourke, the bassist for British alt-rock legends the Smiths, has died on the age of 59, his representatives and previous bandmates stated Friday.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer,” an announcement stated on his social media pages. “Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans. We request privacy at this sad time.

In a tribute, the Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marrsaid the two met as schoolboys in 1975. “We were best friends, going everywhere together,” Marr wrote on Instagram, They played together in bands in South Manchester as teenagers well before the Smiths gained acclaim, he recounted, “and it was on those Smiths records that Andy reinvented what it is to be a bass guitar player.”

Hailing from Manchester, England, Rourke helped craft a sound that became iconic as part of one of the most popular English bands of the 1980s, the Smiths, which spawned hits including “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “How Soon Is NOW? ,

At that time The Washington Post described it as one of the decade’s best English bands.

After the band split in 1987, Rourke went on to play and record with artists including the Pretenders and Badly Drawn Boy. During his decades-long career, he also created a supergroup called Freebass with bass players from the Stone Roses and Joy Division.

“I always used to get a musical instrument either for Christmas or on my birthday so I went through plastic trumpets, saxophone, keyboard,” stated Rourke. in a 2016 interview. “I played a bit of cello later on but I made that up as I went along because it was needed on a Smiths record so I just bought one, tuned it up like a bass and went from there.”

Tributes poured in early Friday as enthusiasts and fellow musicians paid homage to him.

Suede bassist Mat Osman stated Rourke could be remembered as “a complete one-off — a unprecedented bassist whose sound you want to acknowledge immediately.”

The last time Rourke played onstage was with Marr and his band at Madison Square Garden last year, the guitarist said, calling it “an issue of private pleasure in addition to unhappiness.” Marr added that it was “a “special moment shared with my family and his wife and soul mate Francesca.”

Another former bandmate, the Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce, defined Rourke as “the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met.”

“Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual,” he wrote.

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