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"The Clash were the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2."
——Bono
CLASH FOUNDER DEAD AT 50
Joe Strummer Dies of a Heart Attack Sunday, Band Is Slated to Enter Hall of Fame in March
London’s calling…and it’s not good news.

Joe Strummer, who co-founded seminal U.K. punk band the Clash with Mick Jones in the halcyon days of ‘70s new wave, died at the age of 50 from an apparent heart attack on Sunday at his farm in Somerset in southwestern England.

Strummer died "peacefully at home," according to the band’s longtime video director Don Letts, with his wife Lucy, two daughters and a stepdaughter. The Ankara, Turkey-born Strummer's real name was John Mellor.

The band, which stormed onto the U.K. scene in 1977 with such hits as "Rock the Casbah" and "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?," are slated to be inducted into Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 10 alongside fellow Brit new wavers Elvis Costello and the Attractions and the Police. There was even talk that Strummer and Jones would bury the hatchet and reunite the band for the occasion with bassist Paul Simenon and drummer Topper Headon.

U2’s Bono called the Clash, "the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2."

Strummer's death was front-page news in England, where the group was considered, along with the Sex Pistols, the standared-bearers of the punk scene that put London back on the map in the ‘70s as the center of rock music.

Billy Bragg told the BBC punk owed whatever revolutionary social stance it had to the band: "Within the Clash, Joe was the political engine, and without Joe, there’s no political Clash, and without the Clash, the whole political edge of punk would have been severely dulled."

The group confronted issues of class and race on albums like 1980’s massive , three-disc set Sandinista, named after the Nicaraguan left-wing guerilla movement, and with stirring anthems such as "White Riot," "White Man In Hammersmith Palais" and "Tommy Gun."

In the U.S., the band were known for their propulsive live shows. Rolling Stone voted London Calling the best album of the '80s.

And while Strummer steadfastly turned down increasingly large offers for a band reunion, it hasn’t prevented songs like "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" or "London Calling" from being used on TV commercials for jeans and automobiles in recent years.

Strummer led the Clash until 1986 after the departure of co-founder Mick Jones. In recent years, Strummer played with the Pogues, and appeared in several films, including Alex Cox’s Walker and Straight to Hell and Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train.

His most recent project was the world-beat-oriented band the Mescaleros. The group’s most recent album was last year’s Global A Go-Go, which came out on L.A.-based punk label Epitaph’s Hellcat Records. He maintained his social critiques on songs like "Gamma Ray," "Bhindi Bhagee" and "Johnny Appleseed," where he sings, "Notice how the door closes/When the chimes of freedom ring?," typical of his calls for justice and battle against hypocrisy.

Strummer was scheduled to take part in the massive Nelson Mandela tribute concert from the South African leader’s former prison on Robben Island on February 2.

His family has asked, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the  global Mandela SOS benefit, aimed at raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

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