Andy Rourke The guitarist for The Smiths has died at the age of 59. The band’s guitarist Johnny Marr confirmed the news on Twitter this morning.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Andy Rourke after a long illness with pancreatic cancer,” Marr wrote. “Andy will be remembered as a kind, lovely soul by those who knew him and as an immensely talented musician by music fans. We ask for privacy at this sad time.”
The Smiths formed in Manchester in 1982, led by Marr and singer Morrissey. Rourke joined the band a few months later, replacing Dale Hebert, who played Smith’s first gig. Rourke, born on January 17, 1964, was an old school friend of Marr’s and the two began jamming together at the age of 13.
Later, Rourke played in freebass alongside fellow Mancunian guitarists Peter Hook of New Order and Manny of The Stone Roses, as well as Gary Briggs. The group was formed in 2006, but their debut EP, Two worlds collidedid not arrive until 2010. Rourke left the band shortly after.
Most recently, he was a member of DARK with Cranberry singers Dolores O’Riordan and Olé Koretsky. DARK released a single LP, Science agreeson September 9, 2016 via Cooking Vinyl.
Throughout his career, Rourke has recorded with Sinead O’Connor, the Pretenders, and Ian Brown and has toured with Badly Drawn Boy. He also notably played on Morrissey’s singles in 1989, including “Last of the Famous International Playboys” and “Interesting Drug” after the Smiths split in 1987.
Last year, Mar and Rourke reunited for one single, “Forever Strong.” The track was released by Blitz Vega, a compilation featuring Rourke and former Happy Mondays guitarist Kav Blaggers, and was co-produced with DJ Z-Trip. “I wanted exactly what Johnny would do,” Rourke said. Rolling Stone Why did he ask Mar to play the song. “He has a very distinctive voice, and that’s what he did. We love what he brought to the track.”
Of Marr, Rourke added, “We have remained friends, knowing each other since we were thirteen years old. He is my oldest and dearest friend and I feel our friendship is only getting stronger with time.”
Remember Smiths producer Stephen Street Roark on Twitter, writing“Andy was an amazing musician and such a lovely man. I haven’t been able to read any further news of the specifics yet, but I am sending my deepest condolences and thoughts to his friends and family.”
Suede bassist Matt Osman praised Rourke’s playing. “For once complete – a rare guitarist whose voice you can instantly recognize,” he said wrote on Twitter. “I distinctly remember playing so vividly that Barbarian breaks over and over again, trying to learn the riff, marveling at this steely funk driving the track.”
He added, “My DMs are 90% of other bass players talking about doing the exact same thing with Barbarism Begins At Home. I love the idea that the day after Meat Is Murder came out, there were hundreds of us, we put on headphones, fell The needle over and over, and we say “Damn it, Andy.”