Andy Rourke death: The Smiths' bassist dies aged 59 - is his cause of death known, did he have cancer?

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Tributes have been paid to Andy Rourke following his death

The Smiths' bassist Andy Rourke has died aged 59, his former bandmate has announced.

Johnny Marr announced the musicians passing in a post on social media on Friday (19 May). He said that Rourke's death came after a "lengthy illness".

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Andy Rourke was a childhood friend of Marr and joined The Smiths following their first gig. He played bass on all four the band's studio albums and also featured on several of Morrissey's early solo singles after the group split.

Following the break-up of The Smiths, Rourke worked with the likes of Sinead O'Connor - playing bass on three tracks from her 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. He also featured on The Pretenders 1994 album Last of the Independents and worked with former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown on his 2007 full-length The World Is Yours.

Here is all you need to know:

Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, dies aged 59 after ‘lenghty’ battle with pancreatic cancer Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, dies aged 59 after ‘lenghty’ battle with pancreatic cancer
Andy Rourke, bassist for the Smiths, dies aged 59 after ‘lenghty’ battle with pancreatic cancer | Getty

What was Andy Rourke's cause of death?

Announcing The Smiths' bassist's passing, Johnny Marr wrote: “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.”

Tributes paid to Andy Rourke

Johnny Marr has recalled the last time he and Rourke performed together. In an Instagram post, Marr said: “Andy and I met as schoolboys in 1975. We were best friends, going everywhere together. When we were fifteen I moved into his house with him and his three brothers and I soon came to realise that my mate was one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like.

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“Andy and I spent all our time studying music, having fun, and working on becoming the best musicians we could possibly be. Back then Andy was a guitar player and a good one at that, but it was when he picked up the bass that he would find his true calling and his singular talent would flourish.

“Throughout our teens we played in various bands around South Manchester before making our reputations with The Smiths from 1982 to 1987, and it was on those Smiths records that Andy reinvented what it is to be a bass guitar player.

“I was present at every one of Andy’s bass takes on every Smiths session. Sometimes I was there as the producer and sometimes just as his proud mate and cheerleader. Watching him play those dazzling baselines was an absolute privilege and genuinely something to behold. But one time which always comes to mind was when I sat next to him at the mixing desk watching him play his bass on the song The Queen Is Dead. It was so impressive that I said to myself ‘I’ll never forget this moment’.

“We maintained our friendship over the years, no matter where we were or what was happening and it is a matter of personal pride as well as sadness that the last time Andy played on stage was with me and my band at Maddison Square Garden in September 2022. It was a special moment that we shared with my family and his wife and soul mate Francesca.

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“Andy will always be remembered, as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him, and as a supremely gifted musician by people who love music.

“Well done Andy. We’ll miss you brother.

“Johnny x”.

More to follow.

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