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The smiths

The Smiths’ Mike Joyce and Johnny Marr pay tribute to late bassist Andy Rourke

19 May 2023, 15:55 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

The bassist died from pancreatic cancer aged 59.

The Smiths' bassist Andy Rourke’s death was announced today (May 19) by his former bandmate Johnny Marr. In his statement, Marr confirms that Rourke died following “a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer”.

He goes on to say that: Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans."

In a lengthier Instagram post, Marr praised the talents of his friend, mentioning that whilst he was a guitar player when they first met, he found his true calling as a bass player: "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.’"

Rourke was the main bassist for The Smiths, and performed on all four of The Smiths’ studio albums. He also performed with supergroup Freebass alongside New Order’s Peter Hook and Gary "Mani" Mounfield of The Stone Roses. He also recorded with The Pretenders on Last of the Independents.

Former drummer of The Smiths, Mike Joyce, has also paid tribute to the late bassist, noting that he was, "not only the most talented bass player I've ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I've ever met."

As a rhythm section, the duo played with Sinéad O'Connor, Morrissey, and they also performed with the group Moondog One alongside former Oasis guitarist Bonehead.

Andy Rourke's last live performance was with Johnny Marr at Madison Square Gardens in September 2022.

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