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The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan, An Irish Music Icon, Is Dead At 65

Shane MacGowan The Pogues 2012
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Shane MacGowan, who became an Irish music icon as singer and songwriter for The Pogues, is dead at 65 years old.

MacGowan’s wife, Victoria Clarke, confirmed his death with a statement shared on social media today (November 30), writing:

“I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love [heart emoji] of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese. I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love [heart emoji] and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures. There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music. You will live in my heart forever. Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much [heart emojis] You meant the world to me.”

The cause of death has not been officially confirmed. As NME notes, though, MacGowan was released from the hospital last week, where had had been since June due to an unspecified health issue. He was also hospitalized in December 2022 and diagnosed with encephalitis. As NME noted at the time, “MacGowan has been in and out of medical care for the past few years, dating back to a 2015 pelvis injury that left him wheelchair-bound and with continued mobility issues as a result.”

MacGowen, whose full name is Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan, was born on December 25, 1957 in Kent, England to Irish parents. The Pogues were formed in 1982. The band’s commercial peak was their third album, 1988’s If I Should Fall From Grace With God. The album featured the band’s best-known and most successful single, “Fairytale Of New York,” which remains a popular Christmas song in the UK today and has over 300 million streams on Spotify. (The song recently made headlines due to Jason and Travis Kelce’s reinterpretation of it.)