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Shane MacGowan: Pogues singer dies aged 65

Singer-songwriter and The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has died aged 65, following ill-health and a recent hospital stay after being diagnosed with encephalitis.

The musician, whose hits include 1988’s Fairytale of New York and A Pair of Brown Eyes, had been unwell for some time.

MacGowan also had well-documented problems with drugs and alcohol.

His wife Victoria Mary Clarke said MacGowan “meant the world to me”.

Posting on Instagram, she wrote: “I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane… has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese.”

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She said MacGowan “will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love 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”.

A statement from MacGowan’s spokesperson confirmed he “died peacefully at 3.30am this morning (30 November) with his wife and and sister by his side”.

Prayers and the last rites were read during his passing,” he added.

On 22 November, Clarke said he had left hospital, and just a few days later she said they celebrated their wedding anniversary, and were grateful they were “still alive”.

Born in Kent, MacGowan was the son of Irish immigrants and fronted The Pogues from 1982 until their break-up in 2014.

He formed the Irish punk band Pogue Mahone, later shortened to The Pogues, in 1982 and released seven studio albums.

In 1988 Kirsty MacColl collaborated with The Pogues for the Christmas song Fairytale of New York, written by MacGowan, which got to number two in the UK chart.

In 2018 he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at a 60th birthday party in Dublin’s National Concert Hall.

A documentary about his life – Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan – was released in 2020.

He was close friends with Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor who died in July.

In her statement, Clarke said: “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 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.”


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