The Pogues’ lead vocalist, Shane MacGowan, has passed away, according to a statement released by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke. Writing on Instagram, Clarke said, “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.”
In her social media messages, Clarke revealed that he passed away on Thursday following a protracted illness. The musician, according to Clarke, was treated for an infection at Dublin’s St. Vincent’s Hospital and then released on November 22.
Even though MacGowan was in the hospital, she kept her fans apprised of his condition and expressed gratitude for their “lovely messages and prayers.” MacGowan has been battling several health concerns recently and has been wheelchair-bound since breaking his pelvis in 2015.
He was diagnosed with viral encephalitis last year; the inflammation it generates in the brain can be fatal. Plus, in 2015, MacGowan got a complete arch of implants to replace the teeth he had lost due to his extensive alcohol and drug usage.
Born to Irish parents in Kent, England in 1957, MacGowan spent his summers in a farmhouse in southern Ireland, immersed in traditional Irish music. He, along with Peter “Spider” Stacy, Jem Finer, and James Fearnley, established the punk-infused band The Pogues in London in 1982.
With the Pogues, he released a number of popular albums and singles; his duet with English vocalist Kirsty MacColl on the 1988 holiday song “Fairytale of New York” was the most famous.
The prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, was among the first to offer tributes to the superstar. This past Thursday, he shared on X his admiration for MacGowan, praising his “songs beautifully captured the Irish experience, especially the experience of being Irish abroad.”
The president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, also spoke highly of MacGowan’s extensive body of work, stating that he “will be remembered as one of music’s greatest lyricists.”
“His words have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and history, encompassing so many human emotions in the most poetic of ways,” said Higgins.
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