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Andy Rourke, Beloved Bassist For The Smiths, Is Dead At 59

Andy Rourke, the former bassist of The Smiths, has died at age 59 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Guitarist Johnny Marr shared the news to social media today, May 19.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer,” he wrote. “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.”

Rourke played with a handful of iconic acts, recording with Sinéad O’Connor and The Pretenders as well as performing on some of Morrissey’s solo material and joining the supergroup Freebass alongside Peter Hook, Gary Mounfield, and Gary Briggs.

Fans are reacting with sharing the legendary musician’s best bass lines, whether that’s the jaunty flourish on “This Charming Man” or the intense ripple in “How Soon Is Now.” A fan-favorite is “Barbarism Begins At Home,” which sheds light on the way The Smiths’ music, despite often being labeled as stereotypically depressing and glum, has an unmatched element of effervescence that balances beautifully with the dismal content of the lyrics. Videos of them performing on stage in the ’80s, all looking fully immersed in this gleeful sound, is proof of that magic.