Shane MacGowan: Pogues and Fairytale of New York singer illness update shared by wife, will he be OK - TikTok

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The Irish singer was taken to hospital on 2 December and is being treated for an infection

Shane MacGowan, former lead singer and songwriter of legendary Celtic punk band the Pogues, known for their Christmas hit ‘Fairytale of New York’, has been admitted to hospital.

The Irish singer, as famous for his heavy drinking - which reportedly began at the age of 5 when his family administered Guiness to help him sleep - as he is for his music, was taken to hospital on Friday (2 December).

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Now, MacGowan’s wife - Irish journalist Victoria Mary Clarke - has provided an update on the frontman’s health, and urged fans not to “get too worried”. Here is everything you need to know.

What is wrong with MacGowan?

Over the past 10 years, MacGowan has suffered from intermittent health problems, including a pelvic fracture following a fall as he was leaving a Dublin studio in 2015 that required the use of a wheelchair and left him with chronic mobility limitations.

He received a new set of teeth and titanium implants in his jaw to hold them in place that same year, after years of dental health issues - MacGowan has long been known for having very bad teeth, and lost the last of his natural teeth around 2008.

MacGowan has also suffered physically from years of binge drinking, and often performed onstage and gave interviews while drunk during the Pogues’ heyday.

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Shane MacGowan of The Pogues on stage in 2014 (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)Shane MacGowan of The Pogues on stage in 2014 (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Shane MacGowan of The Pogues on stage in 2014 (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images) | Getty Images

But in 2016, Clarke revealed that MacGowan was sober "for the first time in years,” and explained that the origins of his drinking problem stemmed from years of “singing in bars and clubs and other venues where people go to drink and have fun.

“His whole career has revolved around it and, indeed, been both enhanced and simultaneously inhibited by it,” she said.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (6 December), Clarke explained that MacGowan was “being treated for an infection.”

Will he be OK?

MacGowan‘s wife has shared an update on the Pogues frontman’s condition after he was admitted to hospital, elaborating on his illness in an interview with the Irish Mirror, and urging fans not to "get too worried" since she’s “sure he’ll be fine”.

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She said: “I’m definitely hoping he gets out this week. He’s a bit frustrated, I think. He finds it very frustrating… he wants to get out.”

Earlier this year, MacGowan revealed that a day in his life currently starts with him waking “in a sumptuous hospital bed in the flat” in an interview with the Spectator to promote his debut art book, ‘The Eternal Buzz and the Crock of Gold’.

“I am glad to be alive, so I’m grateful to wake up,” he said. “I have beautiful carers who come and get me out of the bed and into the lime green chair. Usually someone tries to get me to do or talk about something.

“Sometimes people visit, or we go out to dinner, or sometimes I end up in hospital. If I don’t end up in hospital, I thank Jesus and His Holy Mother and all the saints and angels.”

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Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (6 December), Clarke gave another update and thanked supporters who had sent MacGowan their well wishes.

“He is being treated for an infection and the doctors are confident that he will be ok,” she wrote. “I am just incredibly grateful to them and to all of you.”

MacGowan and Clarke have been together for more than 35 years. In 2018, following an 11-year engagement, the couple were married in Copenhagen. Actor Johnny Depp sang at their wedding.

Is he on TikTok?

Somewhat bizarrely for a singer-songwriter often depicted in the media as something of a curmudgeon, MacGowan signed up for TikTok earlier this year and quickly went viral on the social media platform often favoured by teens and the younger generation.

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“Welcome to Shane MacGowan on TikTok, I hope you enjoy it,” he told his followers in his debut video, signing off with, “God bless, Shane.”

In other videos on his account, MacGowan is seen performing iconic songs like ‘Fairytale of New York’ on Top of the Tops, and other highlights from his illustrious career with the Irish rockers.

Another shows Danny Baker grilling MacGowan on a chat show, with the singer confessing he’s written some excellent tunes but "doesn’t like to boast."

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