The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies, aged 59

19 May 2023, 08:57 | Updated: 17 January 2024, 11:41

The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has died, aged 59
The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has died, aged 59. Picture: 1. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images 2. Pete Still/Redferns/Getty

By Jenny Mensah

Former bandmate Johnny Marr has confirmed the news that Rourke has died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

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Andy Rourke, who was best known for being The Smiths' bassist, has died at aged 59.

Johnny Marr, his friend and former bandmate, took to Twitter to announce the news, with a photo of the late musician alongside a statement: "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"

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The Smith in 1985: Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke
The Smith in 1985: Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke. Picture: Ross Marino/Getty Images

Manchester-born Rourke played on The Smiths' most iconic tracks, including This Charming Man, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out and also on various Morrissey singles.

The musician was also part of the supergroup Freebass, which also included The Stone Roses Gary 'Mani' Mounfield and Joy Division and New Order guitarist Peter Hook.

Rourke also recorded with the likes of The Pretenders, Badly Drawn Boy, Sinead O'Connor and Killing Joke.

Tributes have begun to pour in for the musician.

Travis frontman Fran Healy said: "Andy was such a lovely gentle soul."

Former Oasis guitarist Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs - who Rourke worked with as part of his Manchester supergroup Moondog One - was also among those showing their heartbreak at the news.

The Stone Roses' Ian Brown wrote: "RiP ANDY ROURKE I first met Andy aged 17".

He added: "We remained pals. One of the highlights of my music life was Andy playing on my The World is Yours album and accompanying me onstage on a UK tour and my first show in MOSCOW. Belly laughs all the way. RiP Brother X

READ MORE: Johnny Marr pays tribute to "dazzling" Smiths colleague Andy Rourke

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