Dr Feelgood rocker and Game of Thrones star Wilko Johnson dies aged 75

23 November 2022, 11:10 | Updated: 23 November 2022, 11:14

Legendary guitarist and Game of Thrones star Wilko Johnson who has died aged 75
Legendary guitarist and Game of Thrones star Wilko Johnson who has died aged 75. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

Legendary Dr Feelgood guitarist and Game of Throne star Wilko Johnson has died aged 75, the band have announced.

The iconic musician played Illyn Payne in the tv series as well as being part of the renowned rock band from 1971-77.

A statement from the band said: "This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died.

"He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family's privacy at this very sad time.

"RIP Wilko Johnson."

Dr Feelgoood guitarist Wilko Johnson
Dr Feelgoood guitarist Wilko Johnson. Picture: Alamy
Wilko Johnson in Game of Thrones
Wilko Johnson in Game of Thrones. Picture: HBO

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Born John Peter Wilkinson, he was a leading light of the punk movement in the '70s as the original lead guitarist for the Essex pub rock band.

After leaving the band in 1977 he joined Ian Dury and the Blockheads from 1980-82, before setting up the Wilko Johnson Band, which continues to this day.

He made his TV acting debut in 2011 in the first series of Game of Thrones. Fans were wowed by his portrayal of Illyn Payne, the ruthless, mute executioner of House Lannister who will be best remembered for killing off Sean Bean's character Ned Stark in a shocking twist at the end of the first season.

Unfortunately, he was forced to leave the show after two seasons due to health issues.

He also appeared as a talking head in various music documentaries, usually discussing British guitaring in the '70s.

In 2013, Johnson announced that he had been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer.He made a full recover from the illness and was able to return to music.

He had previously refused treatment when he believed the cancer was terminal, but later discovered he had a more treatable form of the disease.

His decision to seek a second opinion was reportedly due to a fan called Charlie Chan suggesting it to him.

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