The Smiths’ Andy Rourke has died, according to a statement from guitarist Johnny Marr. Marr said his bandmate’s death came after “a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer.” Rourke was 59.

Rourke joined the Smiths soon after his friend Marr and singer Morrissey formed the group in 1982. His basslines often locked in alongside Mike Joyce‘s drumming to create a steady rhythm section that contrasted with Marr’s intricate melodies.



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He played in the band until its split in 1987 ahead of the release of their fourth and final studio album Strangeways, Here We Come. The breakup occurred amid personal conflicts, including royalty disputes, that led to prolonged litigation.

He continued to play with the Smiths frontman Morrissey on his solo projects as well as with artists such as Sinéad O’Connor and The Pretenders.

In 2005, Rourke formed the supergroup Freebass along with fellow bassists Peter Hook, of New Order and Joy Division, and Gary Mounfield, of the Stone Roses and Primal Scream.

Last September, Rourke played with Marr at Madison Square Garden. It was Rourke’s last gig. Marr stated that it was “a matter of personal pride as well as sadness.” He later said, “Andy will always be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by people who love music.”

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