Tom Verlaine, the influential guitarist whose band Television was a central force in New York’s punk scene of the 1970s, died Saturday (1/28) in Manhattan. He was 73.

Patti Smith’s daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, announced his death, saying it followed a brief illness.

While Television made only two albums during its initial incarnation, Verlaine’s singing, songwriting and guitar-playing separated the band from the rest of the burgeoning lower-Manhattan punk scene. Its songs were longer and more menacing; Verlaine and second guitarist Richard Lloyd played winding and angular solos that mirrored free jazz and drew comparisons to the Grateful Dead while rooted in the drive of garage rock.

Verlaine channeled a huge range of influences. Among them were John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, classic 1950s film scores and contemporary Eastern European classical composers as well as French writers of the 19th century. Born Thomas Miller (in Denville, N.J.), he adopted the surname of Verlaine in honor of the poet.

Verlaine and Richard Hell (né Richard Meyers) met at a Delaware boarding school, later moving to New York and forming the Neon Boys with drummer Billy Ficca. They formed Television in 1973 after meeting Lloyd.

In need of a place to perform, Verlaine convinced the owner of a bar on the Bowery to let his band play there by saying its sound fit in with those of the country, bluegrass and blues bands that frequented the venue. The quartet thereafter built a stage at CBGB and began a Sunday-night residency in March 1974, which would lead to the club's booking the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.

After releasing the single “Little Johnny Jewel” on Ork Records in 1975, Television signed with Elektra and Fred Smith replaced Hell, who left to form The Voidoids. It released Marquee Moon in 1977. While sales were tepid, the reviews were solid and the album’s influence has grown over the decades; it is often high on lists of best debuts and best albums of the 1970s.

The 1978 follow-up, Adventure, featured a softer sound yet fared no better commercially. The band broke up in July 1978 and Verlaine released seven solo albums. Television reunited for a self-titled solo album on Capitol in 1992. It continued to perform sporadically for decades after that. Verlaine’s final release came out in 2006.

Michael Stipe wrote on Instagram: “I've lost a hero. Bless you Tom Verlaine for the songs, the lyrics, the voice! And later the laughs, the inspiration, the stories, and the rigorous belief that music and art can alter and change matter, lives, experience. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.”

Sleater-Kinney posted a statement on Facebook: “While there are many guitar players whom we admire, there are very few whose work informed our approach to playing and writing. Tom Verlaine was one of those guitarists. It was not only his serpentine style—jagged yet shimmering, capable of story-like melodies—but also how he played in conversation with his bandmate and fellow guitarist, Richard Lloyd. The intertwining of notes, completing each other’s sentences, toying with consonance and dissonance, beautifully colliding then breaking away; telling us so much without a single word. While Marquee Moon was seminal, Adventure burrowed deeper. I can’t think of a song that informed the entirety of our guitar playing on The Hot Rock more than ‘Days.’ Thank you, Tom Verlaine, for guiding us. May you rest in peace. ‘Days, be more than all we have.’”