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Musician Andy Rourke, bassist for The Smiths, dies aged 59

Former bandmate Johnny Marr hailed Rourke as a "supremely gifted musician" and confirmed he died of pancreatic cancer. 

Musician Andy Rourke, bassist for The Smiths, dies aged 59

Andy Rourke, bassist for The Smiths, has died. (Photo: Bang Showbiz)

The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke has died at the age of 59, following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

His former bandmate Johnny Marr confirmed the sad news and hailed his late friend a "supremely gifted musician".

In a Twitter statement, 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."

Marr formed the group with frontman Morrissey in 1982, and Rourke joined after their first concert.

Rourke's signature style was at the beating heart of the legendary Manchester band's melodic back catalogue that has gone on to inspire the likes of The Killers and The 1975.

Rourke battled a heroin addiction that saw him dumped by his bandmates for just two weeks in 1986.

He returned in time for the release of their seminal LP The Queen Is Dead.

Marr hailed Rourke's parts on the landmark record as "something no other bass player could match".

They'd go on to release the LP Strangeways, Here We Come in 1987 to huge acclaim, but split not long after.

As well as The Smiths, Rourke performed with Sinead O'Connor and Ian Brown of The Stone Roses.

The Smiths also comprised of drummer Mike Joyce broke up in acrimonious circumstances, and despite being offered massive money to reunite for concerts, they've never come close to getting back together.

The band members infamously got into a feud in 1989 when Rourke and Joyce successfully sued Morrissey and Marr to get more than 10 per cent of the group's royalties.
Source: Others/Bang Showbiz/sr