'He underpinned everything': Bassist for The Smiths, Andy Rourke, dies aged 59 after battle with pancreatic cancer

19 May 2023, 08:22 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 09:02

Andy Rourke has died after battling pancreatic cancer.
Andy Rourke has died after battling pancreatic cancer. Picture: Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Andy Rourke's former bandmate confirmed the legendary bassist has died from pancreatic cancer in a post made to social media this morning.

Andy Rourke, the bassist for The Smiths, has died aged 59 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Former bandmate and guitarist for the indie band, Johnny Marr, confirmed the news on social media this morning.

The post read: "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."

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The band's guitarist announced the news this morning.
The band's guitarist announced the news this morning. Picture: Getty images

Andy joined The Smiths in 1982 after the band placed their original bassist Dave Hibbert.

He helped make some of the band’s most famous hits, including This Charming Man and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

Mr Rourke also played with frontman Morrissey on his solo songs after the the group disbanded.

In 2018 the band planned a reunion of series of classical concerts, however the event was cancelled after Mr Rourke said he would not be taking part as he had not given permission.

His representative told Rolling Stone: "In no point in time did Andy Rourke agree to participate or otherwise license or authorise the use of his name, likeness or any personal quotes in any manner in connection with this Classically Smiths project."

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Mr Rourke joined The Smiths in 1982.
Mr Rourke joined The Smiths in 1982. Picture: Getty

Tributes have poured in for the former bassist, one social media user said: "Such sad news. Andy Rourke, mesmerising bass player with The Smiths, among the few to play melody on four strings. Dies aged 59. I count myself lucky to have seen them play in concert. It’s so lonely on a limb. Rest in peace Andy."

While another added: "RIP Andy Rourke. His fantastically melodic bass playing often went unnoticed because of Johnny Marr’s wonderful guitars and Morrisey’s lyrics but it underpinned everything."

The Smiths producer Stephen Street said: "I am so saddened to hear this news. Andy was a superb musician and a lovely guy.

"I haven't been able to read any other news about details yet but I send my deepest condolences and thoughts to his friends and family. RIP."

Rourke played as part of a supergroup called Freebass later in his career with two other Mancunian bass players, Gary "Mani" Mounfield from the Stone Roses and Peter Hook from New Order.

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