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Shane MacGowan dead - latest: Pogues singer known for Fairytale of New York dies as tributes paid

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has died at the age of 65, just a week after he was discharged from hospital.

The news of his death was confirmed by his wife, Irish journalist and author Victoria Mary Clarke, who said in a statement: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life”.

Tributes have since flooded in, with Irish premier Leo Varadkar writing he had “beautifully captured the Irish experience”, while his former bandmate shared a black and white image of MacGowan smiling on stage.

Last week, it was announced he was being discharged from hospital ahead of his upcoming birthday on Christmas Day. In a post last Wednesday evening, his wife tweeted an image of him wearing a scarf and bobble hat, thanking the nursing staff for their support.

MacGowan revealed he was diagnosed with encephalitis last year in a video posted to social media on New Year’s Eve.

It is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed, according to the NHS website.

From the 1980s, he lead the Irish punk band The Pogues. The band are best known for their 1987 hit, the festive song “Fairytale Of New York”.

Key Points

  • The Independent’s Shane MacGowan obituary

  • ‘Shane MacGowan was so much more than a Christmas song’ - VOICES

  • What is encephalitis? Viral illness MacGowan was diagnosed with that swells brain

Nitin Sawhney posts musical tribute to MacGowan

01:04 , Kevin Perry

A lovely musical tribute to MacGowan from the Ivor Novello-winning multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, performing a solo piano version of “Fairytale of New York”:

Bono posts illustrated tribute to MacGowan

Thursday 30 November 2023 23:40 , Kevin Perry

U2 frontman Bono has posted an illustration of MacGowan on social media in tribute to his passing.

The image includes lyrics from The Pogues’ song “A Rainy Night in Soho” and is accompanied by the caption: “Shane MacGowan’s songs were perfect so he or we his fans didn’t have to be…”

The two Irishmen were longtime friends, with MacGowan living for a time in Bono’s guest house at his home on the south coast of Dublin, overlooking the bay and the railway line. In a 2022 interview with The Times, MacGowan recalled: “Bono put in a glass roof and wall. I used to wave my willy at the train as it passed and hope that they thought it was Bono’s.”

Paul Weller remembers MacGowan: ‘What a life mate'

Thursday 30 November 2023 23:27 , Kevin Perry

Back in January 1977, Shane MacGowan played his part in getting up-and-coming band The Jam signed when he told Polydor’s A&R Man Chris Parry he should check them out supporting Bearded Lady at The Marquee. Today, The Jam’s erstwhile frontman Paul Weller posted a short, sweet message of remembrance: “What a life mate, love ya.”

Bob Dylan said MacGowan’s songwriting ‘reflects an ethnic pride’

Thursday 30 November 2023 22:59 , Kevin Perry

Bob Dylan played The Pogues’ debut single “Dark Streets of London” on his Theme Time Radio Hour show in 2008. Introducing the song, Dylan said: “Let’s give a listen to a famous Irishman. He’s performed some of the most interesting Irish music of the past few years, and his writing reflects an ethnic pride. Talkin’ about Shane MacGowan, and here he is with his band The Pogues. The band were originally called Pogue Mahone, which is Gaelic for ‘kiss my ass’. The BBC figured that out and banned this single. They shortened their name to The Pogues, and that’s how we know them today.”

The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess remembers ‘an inspiration to so many of us’

Thursday 30 November 2023 21:54 , Kevin Perry

The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess is among the many musicians paying tribute to MacGowan today.“Farewell Shane MacGowan,” he wrote on X/Twitter. “A life lived to the full. A lyrical genius. An inspiration to so many of us who wanted to be in bands. I followed The Pogues to far flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed”.

Bruce Springsteen predicted MacGowan’s songs will still be sung ‘a hundred years from now’

Thursday 30 November 2023 21:28 , Kevin Perry

Bruce Springsteen was a longtime fan of MacGowan’s, and paid a visit to the late Pogues frontman last Christmas while he was in hospital.

In a resurfaced interview with Irish television channel RTÉ One, Springsteen said: “He’s the man... I truly believe that a hundred years from now most of us will be forgotten, but I do believe that Shane’s music is going to be remembered and sung. It’s just deep in the nature of it. He’s a master, for me. I have a deep, deep appreciation of his work.”

The Wire creator David Simon recalls meeting 'one of our greatest songsmiths and storytellers’

Thursday 30 November 2023 21:01 , Kevin Perry

The Wire creator David Simon has paid tribute to MacGowan as “one of our greatest songsmiths and storytellers”.

The Pogues’ song “Body of an American” was often used in the acclaimed series as the soundtrack to police funerals in Baltimore.

Writing on X/Twitter, Simon said: “We met twice only -- once backstage in D.C. and once for a dinner in Dublin and only because I owed him -- and still do -- the book on a musical featuring the Pogues songbook.

“The damn thing has already been through about fifteen drafts and still isn’t sufficiently wonderful to stand with Shane’s own magnificent storytelling. And if you think George Pelecanos, Laura Lippman and I are not sufficiently intimidated by having to create a stage narrative that can stand with the likes of “Fairytale” or “Body of an American,” imagine for a moment how intimidated one might be to be standing backstage after a torrid Pogues show at the 9:30 Club and being eyed warily by MacGowan himself.

“He was certainly in his post-encore reverie and a bit unsteady in his gait, but to be clear, he was eyef***ing me like an enemy. I busied myself talking to Spider and Jem and the rest, but at some point, it was time to kiss the pope’s ring. I walked over. “So you’re The Wire guy...” “I am. And thank you for letting us have Body of an American for our cop funerals. A perfect song.” He shrugged. “And can I also say it’s an honor to meet one of the greatest songsmiths and storytellers of our time...”

“I believe I gibbered a few more sentences of hagiography before he gave me a look of what I took to be certain disgust. Seriously, the man scared the hell out of me. Finally, he leaned into my face. “Da Rockin’ Roll Da Dubbing.” Excuse me? I asked him to repeat himself....

““Da Roggin Roll Da Dubbing.” S***. I couldn’t make that out. I thought about nodding sagely, but then imagined myself being called out on it and beaten savagely with a Powers bottle. “I’m sorry. One more time on that.” He rolled his eyes and enunciated with a certain exaggerated and forced sobriety. “The Rocky Road To Dublin,” he said. I finally realized. “The Rocky Road to Dublin” I repeated proudly. “Oh yes.” “Now that’s a f***ing song,” he said, smiling just enough so that I could breathe. “And nobody knows who f***ing wrote it.”

“And then he hissed his magnificent laugh at me, shook my hand and went to get another drink. May his memory be a blessing to everyone who knew or loved him, or admired his great art. Draft number sixteen upcoming and f*** all, it’s got to be good enough for the man. I owe him.”

A Personal Reminiscence

Thursday 30 November 2023 20:40 , Kevin Perry

I was fortunate enough to interview MacGowan in 2012 for the music site The Quietus. At the time he was laid up in bed like Cúchulainn, the mythical Irish warrior he’d written about on the opening track of The Pogues’ monumental 1985 album Rum, Sodomy & The Lash.

Despite suffering with gastroenteritis, MacGowan was on sparkling, sharp-witted form as we shared wine and discussed angels, ghosts and his approach to songwriting. He told me he had no regrets. “There are things that I wish had gone the other way, but there are no regrets. I savagely get rid of them. I won’t dwell on regrets. If it means going out and having a skin full then I’ll go out and have a skin full.” He paused, then added with an impish grin: “Then I’ll have something else to regret.”

My thoughts are with his wife Victoria Mary Clarke today - we’d all be blessed to know a love like theirs.

Sopranos and The White Lotus actor Michael Imperioli pays tribute to ‘one of the most soulful artists of our time'

Thursday 30 November 2023 20:20 , Kevin Perry

Writing on Instagram, The Sopranos and The White Lotus star Michael Imperioli has added his voice to the chorus of tributes to MacGowan.

“The great SHANE MacGOWAN has left us,” he wrote. “One of the most soulful artists of our time. Thank you for all the great music.”

The night Kiefer Sutherland met Shane MacGowan

Thursday 30 November 2023 19:41 , Tom Murray

Among the clips doing the rounds on social media is an interview Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland gave on Ireland’s The Late Late Show in 2019.

In it, the 24 star recalled meeting MacGowan for the first time while he was out to dinner with Ronnie Wood and Sinéad O’Connor.

The pair apparently had a disagreement over politics and ended up “rolling around on the floor” fighting.

“Shane MacGowan at that time had a cast on his right arm that looked as well lived in as anything I’ve ever seen,” Sutherland said, “and he did not have a lot of teeth at the time either, so fighting just seemed unfair.”

Hours later, the actor said MacGowan tapped him on the shoulder and said he needed a place to stay that night.

“I was so impressed with his directness that I said, ‘well do you want a drink?’”

The two went back to Sutherland’s hotel and when he got up early the next day, “all the blankets were perfectly folded... [and] there was a note that he had written on hotel stationery and it was the most beautiful letter I’d ever read.

“It was like poetry. It was just a thank you note but it was so generous, the things he had to say about me and our night and humanity, and it was quite long. And I’ve still got this letter to this day, because it changed my perspective - don’t judge a book by its cover and very rarely trust first encounters.”

Carol Vorderman mourns loss of Sinead O’Connor and MacGowan ‘incredible rebels of my generation’

Thursday 30 November 2023 19:09 , Tom Murray

“Christmas in our house, as in many, starts with ‘Fairytale of New York’...The Pogues,” the TV presenter wrote.

“Incredible photo here of a very young Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan together A loss of both this year... The incredible rebels of my generation.”

BBC Archive shares 1997 documentary where MacGowan and his parents reflect on his childhood

Thursday 30 November 2023 18:47 , Tom Murray

Comedian Mark Steel says he listened to ‘Rum Sodomy & the Lash’ hours before news was announced

Thursday 30 November 2023 18:24 , Tom Murray

Steel, who revealed his throat cancer diagnosis last month, said he listened to The Pogues while undergoing radiotherapy this morning.

“Each morning I’m bolted into a mask for radiotherapy and choose music to listen to as it’s on,” he wrote. “This morning I asked for Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, a record of pure perfection. An hour later I saw Shane Macgowan has left us. I think this is the most spiritual I’ve ever felt.”

Rick Astley pays tribute

Thursday 30 November 2023 18:01 , Tom Murray

“There will only ever be one Shane MacGowan. Rest in peace,” wrote the “Never Gonna Give You Up” singer.

‘Fairytale of New York’ producer Steve Lillywhite says he’s glad song was censored for today’s ‘woke’ audiences

Thursday 30 November 2023 17:27 , Tom Murray

In an interview with Hot Press magazine conducted days before MacGowan’s death, Lillywhite was asked whether he was conscious that the language in “Fairytale of New York” could offend listeners. The song famously contained the gay slur, “f*****”.

Lillywhite, 68 – who was married to the late Kirsty MacColl who duets with MacGowan on “Fairytale” – said: “No, these were more innocent times. It didn’t seem so politically charged as it is now.”

“But the human race has changed. If some people are offended by that, then we have an alternative. I don’t think one should be banned, because I do believe that it’s art.

“But luckily – the story is quite amazing because obviously Kirsty was killed before all the controversy – about 10 years after it was a hit, they didn’t want The Pogues to do a Christmas Top Of The Pops, but they wanted Shane and Kirsty.

“And at that point there was talk that she could change the lyric and so she just did. It was literally the live vocal on Top Of The Pops where she sang, ‘You’re cheap and you’re haggard.’

“And the BBC went to their archives and took the track off the Top Of The Pops – where she sang it one time only in her life – they took it and cut it into the single.

“But we came from a different generation. And there is a generation of kids who are a lot more sensitive. Radio One had the, ‘You’re cheap and you’re haggard’ version. And Radio Two played the original. Which was very different from my idea of cutting-edge Radio One and mums and dads Radio Two.

“When she changed it to, ‘You’re cheap and you’re haggard’ there wasn’t any outcry from the band or from Shane. It was like, ‘Sure, if that’s what you want.’ Now, you have the choice of either one.

MacColl was killed in a freak boating accident aged 41 in 2000. She changed the line “You cheap lousy f*****” to “You’re cheap and you’re haggard” – an alteration also used by Ronan Keating in his widely mocked version of the track.

Shane MacGowan discusses his song ‘Fairytale of New York’ in old clip

Thursday 30 November 2023 17:00 , Maanya Sachdeva

Carl Barât says MacGowan’s ‘storytelling enriched our worlds’ in moving tribute

Thursday 30 November 2023 16:15 , Maanya Sachdeva

The Libertines’ co-frontman Carl Barât has paid tribute to MacGowan after his death, aged 65.

In a post on X/Twitter, he wrote: “So saddened to hear about Shane’s passing today. His storytelling enriched our worlds no end as did the nights we spent with him.

“As an artist he was untouchable and will always be with us. Our hearts go out to all who knew him.”

Watch: The Pogue’s Shane MacGowan’s last performance before his death

Thursday 30 November 2023 16:00 , Maanya Sachdeva

Thursday 30 November 2023 15:45 , Maanya Sachdeva

Billy Bragg has paid tribute to MacGowan, calling him “one of the greatest songwriters of my generation” in a post X/Twitter,

The “Between the War” hitmaker wrote: “Sorry to hear of the demise, after a long illness, of one of the greatest songwriters of my generation, Shane MacGowan.

“The Pogues reinvigorated folk music in the early 80s and his songs put the focus onto lyric writing, opening doors for the likes of myself and others.”

Songwriter Steev Burgess recalls first meeting with ‘fantastic storyteller’ MacGowan

Thursday 30 November 2023 15:30 , Maanya Sachdeva

Steev Burgess, a songwriter who wrote songs with The Libertines bassist John Hassell’s side project Yeti, said it was a great honour to have seen Shane sing with the band.

Arriving to find The Boogaloo closed, he told The Independent: “Shane had his regular barstool here. I remember the first time I met him he was just staring at my Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds shirt and I thought he was trying to start something but he just wanted to tell me how he was friends with Nick.”

On his death, he said: “It’s been on the cards for about twenty years but he loved proving people wrong about that. He wanted to come home [from hospital] for Christmas and he got home at the end.

“When people really look at his songs they will see he is a fantastic storyteller.

“He was super clever he knew his history inside out. He also saw life as a bit of a joke amd made a party of it.”

The Boogaloo patrons raise a toast to ‘Irish icon’ MacGowan

Thursday 30 November 2023 15:00 , Maanya Sachdeva

The Boogaloo, which Shane MacGowan famously lived upstairs of for a number of years, remains closed until Friday for “a private event”.

The Highgate pub, in which MacGowan was seen regularly drinking with Liam Gallagher and other British rockstars over the years, posted a tribute online: “Goodbye my friend, go with God” in Spanish.

The advertising hoarding above the pub proudly displays The Pogues brand of Irish whisky which was launched at the venue in 2015.

Local cafes are blasting The Pogues as a sign of respect to the late singer.

One Boogaloo patron said: “It is so sad. I drank with him a couple of times here. He is an Irish icon for sure, one of our greats. The music he left behind is just incredible.

“He didn’t have the pretensions of a rockstar, here he was just Shane.”

Boogaloo Radio, based in the pub garden and where Shane hosted a DJ slot, posted the lyrics to The Pogues’ 1990 hit “Summer of Siam” on Facebook, adding: “Thank you for everything Shane MacGowan, sure heaven will not know what’s hit it.”

The Boogaloo remains closed until Friday ‘for a private event’ (The Independent/Barney Davis)
The Boogaloo remains closed until Friday ‘for a private event’ (The Independent/Barney Davis)

What is encephalitis? Viral illness MacGowan was diagnosed with that swells brain

Thursday 30 November 2023 14:48 , Maanya Sachdeva

Last year, MacGowan revealed he had been diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a rare but serious conditionwhich causes the brain to become inflamed or swollen.

The Irish singer, who died on 30 November at the age of 65, had been receiving care at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin after the diagnosis. He was discharged six days before his death on 30 November.

While Mr MacGowan’s exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed, here are more details about the illness he battled in his final year:

What is encephalitis? Viral illness Shane MacGowan was diagnosed with

Piers Morgan leads calls to make ‘Fairytale of New York’ Christmas No 1

Thursday 30 November 2023 14:40 , Maanya Sachdeva

Piers Morgan has paid tribute to “genius” and “hell-raiser extraordinaire” MacGowan, with the journalist calling to make The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” the Christmas No 1 in the singer’s honour.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Morgan said: “RIP Shane MacGowan, 65. Irish punk legend, genius Pogues singer/songwriter, and hell-raiser extraordinaire. His favourite joke was: ‘I was given six weeks to live, about 25 years ago!’

“Let’s make Fairytale of New York the Christmas No1 as a tribute. (He was born on Xmas Day)”, he added.

Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor honours MacGowan’s legacy in heartfelt tribute

Thursday 30 November 2023 14:29 , Maanya Sachdeva

Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor honoured MacGowan’s musical legacy in a heartfelt tribute shared on Instagram.

Sharing the lyrics of The Pogues song “A Rainy Night In Soho”, Taylor captioned his post: ”Very sad news about Shane MacGowan passing away. A man you don’t meet every day.

“Really loved his music and songwriting and it has meant a lot to me over the years,” the 43-year-old singer added.

How The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl made ‘Fairytale of New York’

Thursday 30 November 2023 14:10 , Maanya Sachdeva

The Independent’s Music Editor Roisin O’Connor revisits the making of the Christmas classic, including the significance of its title, the concept of its accompanying music video, and why the song was censored in recent years.

Full story here:

The story behind ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

Local describes MacGowan as ‘kind-hearted generous man’

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:44 , Holly Evans

The Boogaloo in Highgate, Shane MacGowan’s local, was closed this afternoon.

One dog walker looking to get into the north London boozer recalled drinking with Shane a regular. He said: “He was a kind-hearted generous man. Who would give you his last penny.”

Shane MacGowan regularly drank at the Boogaloo in Highgate (The Independent)
Shane MacGowan regularly drank at the Boogaloo in Highgate (The Independent)

MacGowan was a ‘lyricist supreme’, says Irish folk group

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:38 , Holly Evans

Irish folk group The Wolfe Tones said Shane MacGowan was a “lyricist supreme”.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the group said: “Shane MacGowan RIP, lyricist supreme, unbelievable talent, sincerest condolences to Victoria and Shane’s family and friends.”

Watch Shane MacGowan’s last TV appearance before death

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:32 , Holly Evans

Watch Shane MacGowan’s last TV appearance before death

The Pogues' brutal putdown of Laurence Fox called one of Shane MacGowan's 'finest works'

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:22 , Holly Evans

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan died “peacefully” on the morning of November 30 with his wife Victoria and family at his side.

Amongst those paying tribute include Nick Cave, Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar. One person unlikely to pay tribute is the outspoken actor and commentator Laurence Fox who was once called a ‘herronvolk sh**e’ by The Pogues Twitter/X account after he complained about the BBC censoring a version of ‘Fairytale of New York.’

Although Fox has since removed his tweet, the Pogues putdown is still live, leading many to reshare it in memory of MacGowan.

The Pogues' brutal putdown of Laurence Fox called one of Shane MacGowan's 'finest works'

Watch: The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan’s last performance before death aged 65

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:07 , Holly Evans

Watch: The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan’s last performance before death aged 65

Nick Cave describes MacGowan as ‘greatest songwriter of his generation’

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:05 , Holly Evans

Singer Nick Cave has also paid tribute to Shane MacGowan saying: “A true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation. A very sad day.”

Shane MacGowan of The Pogues performs at the T in the Park music festival near Kinross in Scotland. (PA)
Shane MacGowan of The Pogues performs at the T in the Park music festival near Kinross in Scotland. (PA)

The Pogues bandmate shares picture and tribute

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:01 , Holly Evans

English musician and singer Peter “Spider” Stacy has paid tribute to his fellow bandmate Shane MacGowan, sharing an image of him performing on a stage.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Stacy wrote: “‘O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..’”

The line was accompanied by a black and white image of MacGowan smiling on stage.

Stacy co-founded The Pogues along with MacGowan, Jem Finer and James Fearnley and appeared on all of their recordings.

Pictures of Shane MacGowan performing through the years

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:58 , Holly Evans

Shane MacGowan onstage in London’s Hyde Park in 2014 (Getty Images)
Shane MacGowan onstage in London’s Hyde Park in 2014 (Getty Images)
Pictured performing with The Pogues in 1985 (Alamy)
Pictured performing with The Pogues in 1985 (Alamy)
The Pogues' Shane MacGowan's last performance before his death (The Busk/Dublin Simon Community)
The Pogues' Shane MacGowan's last performance before his death (The Busk/Dublin Simon Community)

Irish premier says MacGowan ‘beautifully captured the Irish experience’

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:55 , Holly Evans

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has expressed his condolences at the death of Shane MacGowan.

“He was an amazing musician and artist,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

“His songs beautifully captured the Irish experience, especially the experience of being Irish abroad.”

The Shane MacGowan I knew was so much more than a Christmas song

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:50 , Holly Evans

The last time I listened to the Pogues’ debut album, I thought I heard a ghost. In the fade-out on side one, a Corkman recites a Gaelic phrase that translates as “There’s no place like home”, and performs a brief, solo lilt.

This was my uncle, Tom O’Grady, whose voice I had not heard in the decade since he died – his contribution appears only on the vinyl LP, if you let the needle run out. Tom was no singer, much less a musician. His appearance on the record was down to his friendship with Shane MacGowan, the band’s frontman and chief songwriter, who has sadly died today aged 65.

The pair met in the early 1980s at Rocks Off, the record shop on Hanway Street, an alley off Tottenham Court Road in central London, where Tom shopped and Shane worked before The Pogues took off. They bonded over a mutual passion for music, film and general carousing, though their shared ethnicity was doubtless important to the friendship, too. As was the case with most migrants to Britain in this period, you gravitated to your own.

Read the full article from Robert Dineen here

Shane MacGowan was so much more than a Christmas song | Robert Dineen

Irish president says ‘particular poignancy’ in deaths of MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:46 , Holly Evans

Irish President Michael D Higgins said there was “particular poignancy” that the death of Shane MacGowan had followed closely that of Sinead O’Connor.

He said: “Born on Christmas Day, there was perhaps some form of destiny which led Shane to writing Fairytale Of New York, the timeless quality of which will surely mean that it will be listened to every Christmas for the next century or more.

“Likewise songs like Rainy Night In Soho, A Pair Of Brown Eyes, If I Should Fall From Grace With God and so many others will live on far into the years and decades to come.

“I think too of Haunted, and the particular poignancy that both Shane and Sinead O’Connor have left us in such quick succession.”

He added: “It was a great honour for me, as President of Ireland, to present Shane with a lifetime achievement award in the National Concert Hall in January 2018 as we marked his 60th birthday. A richly deserved honour.”

Derry Girls actress says MacGowan was ‘the voice of London for us Irish'

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:43 , Holly Evans

Derry Girls actor Siobhan McSweeney has said that Shane MacGowan “was the voice of London for us Irish”.

“When I was scared about moving here he lured me over with songs about chancers, drinkers, lovers, poets and scoundrels,” she said on the social media site X.

“That’s the place for me, I thought!

“He also taught me how to miss home, whatever that may be. Damn shame, Shane.”

Singer died ‘peacefully’ with family at his side

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:40 , Holly Evans

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan died “peacefully” on the morning of November 30 with his wife Victoria and family at his side.

A statement shared on behalf of his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, his sister Siobhan and father, Maurice, on The Pogues’ official Instagram said: “It is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of SHANE MACGOWAN.

“Shane died peacefully at 3am this morning (30 November, 2023) with his wife Victoria and family by his side. Prayers and the last rites were read which gave comfort to his family.

“He is survived by his wife Victoria, his sister Siobhan and his father, Maurice, family and a large circle of friends. Further details will be announced shortly but the family ask for privacy at this very sad time”.

Shane MacGowan in hospital with his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke (Twitter/ Victoria Mary Clarke)
Shane MacGowan in hospital with his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke (Twitter/ Victoria Mary Clarke)

Sinn Fein president describes MacGowan as a ‘poet'

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:39 , Holly Evans

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has described Shane MacGowan as “a poet” who was unique in how he told “the Irish story”.

She said that Ireland “has lost one of its most beloved icons and the world one of its greatest songwriters”.

“Shane was a poet, a dreamer and a champion of social justice. He was a dedicated Republican and a proud Irishman.

Shane MacGowan was known as the frontman of The Pogues (Michael Walter/PA) (PA Archive)
Shane MacGowan was known as the frontman of The Pogues (Michael Walter/PA) (PA Archive)

“Nobody told the Irish story like Shane – stories of emigration, heartache, dislocation, redemption, love and joy.

“Shane brought his musical unique style to all corners of the world, and his music will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

“Today we mourn his passing. He was one of the best of us. Ni bheidh a leitheid aris ann.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Victoria, his sister Siobhan, his extended family and very wide circle of friends.”

Irish politician Gerry Adams pays tribute

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:37 , Kevin Perry

Irish republican politican Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Shane MacGowan as “a great patriot, a poet and friend of the down trodden and marginalised”.

Fairytale of New York: How The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl made the Christmas classic

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:26 , Holly Evans

“Fairytale of New York” is a drunken hymn for people with broken dreams and abandoned hopes. It is, therefore, a perfect contrast to some of the perkier perennial favourites we wheel out each Christmas.

The song begins with its narrator, an Irish immigrant, being thrown into a drunk tank to sleep off his Christmas Eve binge.

Hearing an old man sing the Irish ballad “The Rare Old Mountain Dew”, he begins to dream about his memories of the female character in the song, and so begins the story of two people who fell in love in America, only to see their plans of a bright future dashed.

Read the full story here

The story behind ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

Full statement from MacGowan’s wife

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:25 , Holly Evans

On Thursday, his wife Victoria Mary Clarke shared a black and white photo of MacGowan from his younger years smoking and holding a wine glass in a joint post to her Instagram and her husband’s.

Alongside the post, she wrote: “I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it.

“Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese.

“I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.

“There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world.

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music.

“You will live in my heart forever. Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much. You meant the world to me.”

Shane MacGowan, shy and complex genius behind The Pogues, dies aged 65

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:16 , Holly Evans

Shane MacGowan, the shy, complex, brilliant frontman of Anglo-Irish band The Pogues, has died aged 65.

The news of his death was confirmed by his wife, Irish journalist and author Victoria Mary Clarke, who said in a statement: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life”.

For many years, one only had to look at MacGowan’s mouth to get an idea of his intemperate lifestyle. Writing for The Independent in 2015, journalist Richard Jinman described it as “a monument to rock’n’roll excess; a frightening cavity hollowed out by misadventure and misbehaviour”.

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Shane MacGowan, shy and complex genius behind The Pogues, dies aged 65

Welcome to our live coverage

Thursday 30 November 2023 12:12 , Holly Evans

Welcome to our live coverage as tributes flood in for The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, who has died at the age of 65.

We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates.