MANCHESTER, England – Andy Rourke, the longtime bassist for British rock band The Smiths, has died at age 59, his bandmates announced Friday.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer,” Johnny Marr, guitarist for The Smiths, said in a tweet. “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.”
Rourke joined The Smiths in 1982 and was the band’s bassist until 1987, when the band broke up. Following the band’s split, Rourke played with a number of different musicians, including former The Smiths frontman Morrissey, The Pretenders, Badly Drawn Boy, Sinéad O’Connor, and more.
Marr, in a separate post to Instagram, said he and Rourke met as children in 1975.
“We were best friends, going everywhere together,” Marr said in his post. “When we were fifteen I moved into his house with him and his three brothers and I soon came to realise that my mate was one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like.”
The last time Rourke played on stage was last year with Marr at Madison Square Garden. Marr called the occasion “a special moment that we shared with my family and his wife and soul mate, Francesca.”
Mike Joyce, former drummer for The Smiths, shared his own tribute to Rourke in a social media post.
“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,” Joyce said in a tweet. “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”
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