Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has died aged 59

Guitarist Johnny Marr stated on twitter that Rourke had died after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Andy Rourke

Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, has died aged 59.

Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr shared the news in a statement on Twitter, writing: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer.”

“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.”

Smiths drummer Mike Joyce paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Not only the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met.”

“Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”

Born in Manchester in 1964, Rourke joined the Smiths when they formed in 1982, and would remain their bass player for most of their career until their disbandment in 1987. He played bass on their best-known hits, including This Charming Man and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.

In 1986, he was briefly fired from the band due to his use of heroin – however he officially rejoined the band just two weeks after this. After the band broke up in 1987, he would go on to play on several Morrisey solo singles.

He remained active in music throughout the 2000s and 2010s: In 2005, Rourke would form the bass-focused supergroup Freebass, alongside Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order and Gary “Mani” Mounfield of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream. In 2009, he formed D.A.R.K alongside Olé Koretsky and Dolores O’Riordan, vocalist of the Cranberries.

Rourke also played alongside fellow Manchester musician Badly Drawn Boy, touring in his band for two years. He also paid tribute on Twitter: “The Smiths were easily the most important band of my teens. I was beyond honoured when Andy played bass with me on tour for two years. He was the coolest, kindest, funniest person, a joy to tour with. Probably the best natural musician I’ve ever seen. Loved him. Gutted.”


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