Damo Suzuki death: Tributes paid after Can band musician dies of colon cancer, aged 74

German experimental rock group Can, from left to right; Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Damo Suzuki, Irmidt Schmidt and Jaki Leibzeit, during the 'Tago Mago' period. Damo Suzuki has died at the age of 74. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)German experimental rock group Can, from left to right; Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Damo Suzuki, Irmidt Schmidt and Jaki Leibzeit, during the 'Tago Mago' period. Damo Suzuki has died at the age of 74. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
German experimental rock group Can, from left to right; Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Damo Suzuki, Irmidt Schmidt and Jaki Leibzeit, during the 'Tago Mago' period. Damo Suzuki has died at the age of 74. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Damo Suzuki, who was the lead singer of German krautrock group Can during the early 1970s, has died of colon cancer at the age of 74

Damo Suzuki, the lead singer of the German krautrock group Can, has died of cancer at the age of 74.

The news was announced by Suzuki's bandmates on Can's official Instagram page yesterday (Saturday February 10). The iconic artist had been battling colon cancer for a decade before his death on Friday (February 9). He was diagnosed with the disease in 2014 and given a 10% chance of survival.

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So, just who was Suzuki, what did the Can band members say about his death on Instagram and what tributes have been paid to him? Here's what you need to know.

Who was Damo Suzuki?

Suzuki was born in Japan on January 16 1950. He gained a love of music at an early age and spent his teenage years travelling around Europe to busk, where he developed the experimental vocal style he went on to become famous for.

It was busking that led him to join Can when Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit found him playing outside a Munich café. He played with the band that night and improvised much of the performance. They were so impressed with his talent they asked him to join the band.

Due to his unique talent, Suzuki’s time with the band is known as their creative peak, particularly 1971’s "Tago Mago" which is widely regarded as one of the best albums of all time. He left Can after the recording of their 1973 album "Future Days" however to marry his girlfriend Elke Morsbach and became a Jehovah’s Witness.

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He made a return to music ten years later, and in 1983 he began touring and recording as Damo Suzuki’s Network. Renowned for his improvisational style, Suzuki continued to perform in to his final years, and also collaborated with the likes of Mogwai, Bo Ningen, Black Midi and many more.

Suzuki was first diagnosed with colon cancer when he was 33-years-old; a disease that his father died of when Suzuki was just five-years-old. 

What happened to Damo Suzuki?

Suzuki died of colon cancer. His death was announced via a post on Can's Instagram page. The post, which included a photo of the late vocalist, read: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our wonderful friend Damo Suzuki, yesterday, Friday 9 February 2024. His boundless creative energy has touched so many over the whole world, not just with Can, but also with his all continent spanning Network Tour. Damo’s kind soul and cheeky smile will be forever missed.”

Paying tribute to past members of the art-rock collective, they continued: “He will be joining Michael, Jaki and Holger for a fantastic jam!" The caption ended: “Lots of love to his family and children. We will post funeral arrangements at a later date.”

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What tributes have been paid to Damo Suzuki?

The X account for "Energy", an acclaimed 2022 documentary about Suzuki, wrote that he was “a life force that will be missed by many”. The post also said: "Lost for words. Damo forever. Sending strength, love and condolences to the family and loved ones."

Fans also left comments of condolence on Can band's Instagram post. One said: "Condolences of the highest order. Damo was untouchable. God bless his family. May he forever fill our souls with his endless contributions to music. May the rain of mother sky fall upon all who were influenced by him. Damo is forever."

Another added: "RIP one of the greatest vocalists ever." One more said: "Rest in peace to a truly beautiful and unique soul, an innovator, genius and idol."

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