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Shane MacGowan: The Pogues singer dies aged 65

Shane MacGowan: The Pogues singer dies aged 65

Musician and singer Shane MacGowan, best known as the frontman of The Pogues, has died at the age of 65.

His wife Victoria Mary Clarke, announced his death on Instagram, writing: "Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life".

The Irish star, who had recently left hospital, had suffered from several health issues in recent years, including being diagnosed with viral encephalitis – a life-threatening condition which leads to brain swelling.

MacGowan was born in Kent on Christmas Day in 1957, the son of Irish immigrants.

He was a punk rebel, almost as famous for his drinking and drug taking - and for the toll it took on his teeth - as he was for his music.

He was also a gifted storyteller from a young age, winning a Daily Mirror literary prize when he was 13, and a scholarship to Westminster School for his essays.

Johnny Depp performed bass guitar for the Pogues during their performance on the BBC's 'Top of the Pops' (PA)
Johnny Depp performed bass guitar for the Pogues during their performance on the BBC's 'Top of the Pops' (PA)

He went on to form the Irish punk band Pogue Mahone, later shortened to The Pogues, in 1982 and released seven studio albums.

In 1988 Kirsty MacColl collaborated with The Pogues for the Christmas song Fairytale of New York, written by MacGowan, which got to number two in the UK chart and became their best-loved song.

Clarke wrote: "I don't know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese.

"I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.

"There's no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world.

"Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music.

"You will live in my heart forever. Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much. You 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.

Tributes soon poured in from the world of showbiz on social media.

Among them was Piers Morgan, who hailed him a "genius singer/songwriter" and "hell-raiser extraordinaire".

He called for fans to help make Fairytale of New York this year's Christmas number one.

"RIP Shane MacGowan, 65. Irish punk legend, genius Pogues singer/songwriter, and hell-raiser extraordinaire," Morgan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Adding: "His favourite joke was: ‘I was given six weeks to live, about 25 years ago!’ Let’s make Fairytale of New York the Christmas No1 as a tribute. (He was born on Xmas Day)."

Radio DJ Annie Mac also shared a post after his death, writing: "RIP Shane McGowan. One of the finest lyricists of a generation. A man who loved Ireland with all his heart and took the music and culture and mixed it with his London upbringing to bring us The Pogues.

"What a band. What a discography. I am thankful to my big brothers for playing The Pogues albums relentlessly round the house when I was growing up. His voice will be forever nostalgic for me, taking me straight home to Dublin."

English football pundit Stan Collymore wrote: "Rest in peace, Shane. Thank you for the music and for many, making Christmas, Christmas."