Shane MacGowan, the frontman of The Pogues, passed away at the age of 65 after being hospitalised recently for encephalitis.
The singer-songwriter had been ill for a while. His hits include A Pair of Brown Eyes and Fairytale of New York from 1987.
MacGowan also had a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
According to his spouse Victoria Mary Clarke, MacGowan “meant the world to me” in an Instagram post. 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.” She added that 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”.
MacGowan “died peacefully at 3.30am this morning (30 November) with his wife and sister by his side,” said a statement from his representative. “Prayers and the last rites were read during his passing,” he added.
Clarke announced on November 22 that he had left the hospital. A few days later, she reported that they had celebrated their wedding anniversary and were thankful to be “still alive”.
Shane MacGowan’s life
MacGowan, an Irish immigrant’s son who was born in Kent, led The Pogues from 1982 until their dissolution in 2014. In 1982, he founded the Irish punk group Pogue Mahone, which was subsequently simplified as The Pogues. The band put out seven studio albums.
One of the UK’s most beloved Christmas songs, “Fairytale of New York,” written by MacGowan, was a collaboration between Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues in 1988. The song peaked at number two in the UK chart.
In a video that was shared on social media on New Year’s Eve, MacGowan disclosed that he received an encephalitis diagnosis the previous year. Additionally, he had been in a wheelchair since 2015 due to a fall-related injury.
The NHS website describes it as an uncommon but dangerous condition where the brain becomes inflamed.
He received a lifetime achievement award in 2018 during a celebration of his 60th birthday held in Dublin’s National Concert Hall.