Andy Rourke, the bassist for the iconic rock band The Smiths, has passed away at the age of 59, as confirmed by the band.
Guitarist Johnny Marr shared the news of Rourke’s death, expressing “deep sadness” and revealing that Rourke had been battling pancreatic cancer for an extended period.
In a Twitter statement, Marr described Rourke as a kind and beautiful soul known to his acquaintances and a supremely gifted musician cherished by fans.
“We kindly request privacy during this sorrowful time,” Marr added.
Rourke’s contribution to The Smiths’ music was significant, as he played on their most well-known tracks, including “This Charming Man” and “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” After the band disbanded in 1987, he also collaborated with lead singer Morrissey on several solo singles.
Throughout his tenure with The Smiths, Rourke featured on all four of the band’s studio albums: “The Smiths” (1984), “Meat Is Murder” (1985), “The Queen Is Dead” (1986), and “Strangeways, Here We Come” (1987).
Tributes poured in on social media, with Suede bassist Mat Osman describing Rourke as a unique talent and a bassist with an instantly recognizable sound. Osman reminisced about learning and marveling at Rourke’s steely funk playing on the track “Barbarism.”
Stephen Street, a producer who worked with The Smiths, expressed his sorrow and remembered Rourke as both an exceptional musician and a wonderful person. Street sent his deepest condolences and thoughts to Rourke’s friends and family.
In later years, Rourke collaborated with other renowned bass players from Manchester, forming a supergroup called Freebass alongside Gary “Mani” Mounfield from The Stone Roses and Peter Hook from New Order.
Throughout his extensive career, Rourke recorded with various artists, including the Pretenders, Killing Joke, Badly Drawn Boy, Aziz Ibrahim, and Bonehead (former Oasis guitarist) as part of the band Moondog One, which also featured Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon.