Shane MacGowan, the singer-songwriter and frontman of Irish punk rock-Celtic band The Pogues has died, aged 65.
“It is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our most beautiful, darling and dearly beloved Shane Macgowan,” his wife Victoria Clarke, his sister Siobhan and father Maurice said in a statement.
The musician was hospitalised in Dublin for several months after being diagnosed with viral encephalitis in late 2022. He was finally discharged last week, ahead of his birthday on Christmas Day.
Tributes have poured in, including from close friend Nick Cave, who said he was “a true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation. A very sad day“.
Irish president Michael Higgins was among those paying tribute, commenting: “His words have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and history … The genius of Shane’s contribution includes the fact that his songs capture within them, as Shane would put it, the measure of our dreams – of so many worlds, and particularly those of love, of the emigrant experience and of facing the challenges of that experience with authenticity and courage, and of living and seeing the sides of life that so many turn away from.”
The Pogues fused traditional Irish music and rock’n’roll into a unique, exhilarating blend, with MacGowan becoming as famous for his drunken, slurred performances as for his powerful songwriting.
Best known for the 1987 festive hit “Fairytale Of New York” featuring Kirsty MacColl, the Irish band recorded numerous hits throughout the 80s and early 90s, including “The Old Main Drag“, “A Pair Of Brown Eyes” and “A Rainy Night In Soho“, as well as covers of Irish standards “Dirty Old Town” and “The Irish Rover“.