Andy Rourke, The Smiths’ Bassist, Dead at 59

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Andy Rourke, bassist for the British rock band The Smiths, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 59.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer,” The Smiths’ guitarist, Johnny Marr, shared on Friday. “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.”

The Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce also issued a touching tribute to Rourke.

“Not only the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met,” Joyce tweeted. “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”

The Smiths were formed in Manchester, U.K. in 1982 by Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce. They released their debut, self-titled album in 1984 and amassed a cultish following of deeply devoted fans in the years leading up to their 1987 breakup.

The Smiths released four studio albums. Among their biggest hits were “How Soon Is Now,” “This Charming Man,” “What Difference Does It Make?” and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.”

Following the band’s 1987 split, Rourke continued to work with Morrissey’s solo projects including “Piccadilly Palare,” “Interesting Drug,” “November Spawned a Monster,” “The Last of the Famous International Playboys,” and the 1990 album Bona Drag.

He also played with FreeBass, D.A.R.K., Sin?ad O’Connor, The Pretenders, Ian Brown and Badly Drawn Boy later in his career.

Rourke, who called New York City home for many years, made his final public appearance in October for the premiere of the Showtime music doc, Meet Me In The Bathroom.

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