Andy Rourke Dead: The Smiths Bassist Was 59

Andy Rourke, bassist with influential British rock band The Smiths, has died after a long illness due to pancreatic cancer. He was 59.

The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr posted on Twitter on Friday: “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.”

The Smiths were formed in Manchester in 1982 by singer Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. Morrissey and Marr were the band’s songwriters. The band signed with Rough Trade Records in 1983 and their first album, “The Smiths,” was released in 1984. Hit albums include” Meat Is Murder” (1985), “The Queen Is Dead” (1986) and “Strangeways, Here We Come” (1987).

The band broke up in 1987.

Rourke’s work can be heard on several of The Smiths’ hit songs including “This Charming Man” and “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Post break up, Rourke worked on Morrissey’s solo tracks including “Piccadilly Palare,” “Interesting Drug,” “November Spawned a Monster,” “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” and the album “Bona Drag” (1990).

Later in his career Rourke played with FreeBass, D.A.R.K., Sinéad O’Connor, The Pretenders, Ian Brown and Badly Drawn Boy.

Joyce tweeted: “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.”

The Smiths producer Stephen Street said: “I am so saddened to hear this news! Andy was a superb musician and a lovely guy. I haven’t been able to read any other news about details yet but I send my deepest condolences and thoughts to his friends and family,”

Badly Drawn Boy added: “The Smiths were easily the most important band of my teens. I was beyond honoured when Andy played bass with me on tour for 2 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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