The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies aged 59

As part of the genre-defining rock group, Rourke scored two UK Number 1 albums.

Andy Rourke, the bassist for The Smiths, has died aged 59, it's been confirmed. 

His death was announced by his former bandmate Johnny Marr, who called Rourke "a kind and beautiful soul."

In a statement posted to social media, Marr said: "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.  We request privacy at this sad time."

Rourke came to prominence as a member of The Smiths, one of the most highly-influential bands of their generation, alongside singer Morrissey, guitarist Marr and drummer Mike Joyce. 

MORE: See where The Smith's biggest singles and albums charted in the UK

On a longer Instagram post, Marr (who had known Rourke since he was 11 years old) continued: "Andy and I met as schoolboys in 1975. We were best friends, going everywhere together. When we were fifteen I moved into his house with him and his three brothers and I soon came to realise that my mate was one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn't like.

"Andy and I spent all our time studying music, having fun, and working on becoming the best musicians we could possibly be. Back then Andy was a guitar player and a good one at that, but it was when he picked up the bass that he would find his true calling and his singular talent would flourish."

Rourke initially joined The Smiths in 1982, after it had already been formed by Morrissey and Marr, but the came to view Rourke playing the bass in the band as his "true calling."

Now a foursome, Rourke would go on to play for each of The Smith's four studio albums - 1984's The Smiths (2), 1985's Meat Is Murder (1), 1986's The Queen Is Dead (2) and the band's final record together, 1987's Strangeways Here We Come (2). The band claimed their second and so far final UK Number 1 album with 1992' Best...I greatest hits compilation, well after The Smiths has originally parted ways in typically chaotic fashion in 1987.

In their time together, the band also claimed three UK Top 10 singles; Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (10), Sheila Take A Bow (10) and the 1993 re-release of This Charming Man (8).

Following the dissolution of The Smiths, Rourke also played on several solo singles for Morrissey.

Article Image: Startraks/Shutterstock

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