ANDY ROURKE,
1964-2023

Andy Rourke, the bassist for The Smiths whose melodic style was the backbone of British indie rock's top band of the '80s, died early Friday (5/19) in New York. He was 59. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

Smiths co-founder/guitarist Johnny Marr, who became friends with Rourke at the age of 11, announced his death on social media. “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 wrote.

Marr and Morrissey started The Smiths in 1982 in Manchester; Rourke replaced Dale Hibbert after the band’s first gig. He played on all four of The Smiths' albums, records at the forefront of independent British music in the 1980s. The band broke up in 1987.

Rourke continued to record with Morrissey in the late '80s and would later join Badly Drawn Boy’s band. He played in the supergroup Freebass with New Order’s Peter Hook and The Stone Roses’ Mani and recorded with Sinéad O’Connor, The Pretenders and Ian Brown. The bassist was also in the band D.A.R.K. with Dolores O'Riordan. His most recent project was Blitz Vega with Kav Sandhu of Happy Mondays.

Morrissey said in a statement: “His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done. He was also very, very funny and very happy... At the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that.”

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