Andy Rourke, the bass guitarist for the iconic British rock band, The Smiths, has died at the age of 59. His bandmate and longtime friend, Johnny Marr, made the announcement on Twitter Friday (May 19), revealing that Rourke had been fighting pancreatic cancer before his passing.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer. Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans.”
Marr requested for, “privacy at this sad time.”
Rourke was a talented musician who made a significant contribution to the world of music. He will be remembered as one of the most influential bass players of his generation.
Andy Rourke Bio
Andy Rourke was born Andrew Michael Rourke in Manchester, England, in 1964. He met guitarist Johnny Marr at school, and the two became friends, often playing music together. After Marr formed a band with Morrissey, they invited Rourke in 1982 to come aboard as bassist. They later added a fourth member— Mike Joyce, who played drums, and as a group they became known as The Smiths.
With Rourke on bass, The foursome quickly became one of the most popular indie rock bands in the world, releasing four studio albums, including their self-titled debut in 1984, Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987). Rourke’s bass playing was a key part of the Smiths’ sound, and he was known for his melodic lines and his ability to blend in with Marr’s guitar playing. Some of their famous songs were “This Charming Man” and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.”
The Smiths disbanded in 1987, and Rourke went on to work with a number of other bands, including Freebass, The Pretenders, and D.A.R.K. He also released a solo album in 1994.
Morrissey paid tribute to his late bandmate in a statement shared on his website. “Sometimes one of the most radical things you can do is to speak clearly,” Morrissey wrote on his website. “I just hope … wherever Andy has gone … that he’s OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else.”
continued, “His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done. He was also very, very funny and very happy, and post-Smiths, he kept a steady identity — never any manufactured moves. I suppose, at the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that.”
Rourke was survived by his wife, two children, and his parents.
Condolences to his family and friends.