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

His death comes one week after he was discharged from hospital

Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan dies aged 65

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”.

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

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

Encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed or swollen

Maanya Sachdeva30 November 2023 14:48
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Piers Morgan leads calls to make ‘Fairytale of New York’ Christmas No 1

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.

Maanya Sachdeva30 November 2023 14:40
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Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor honours MacGowan’s legacy in heartfelt tribute

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.

Maanya Sachdeva30 November 2023 14:29
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How The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl made ‘Fairytale of New York’

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

A drunken hymn for those with broken dreams and abandoned hope

Maanya Sachdeva30 November 2023 14:10
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Local describes MacGowan as ‘kind-hearted generous man’

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
Shane MacGowan regularly drank at the Boogaloo in Highgate (The Independent )
Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:44
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MacGowan was a ‘lyricist supreme’, says Irish folk group

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.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:38
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Watch Shane MacGowan’s last TV appearance before death

Watch Shane MacGowan’s last TV appearance before death

Shane MacGowan spoke of his musical influences in his last TV appearance before his death aged 65. The Pogues star had been receiving hospital care after being diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a condition that causes the brain to swell, in December 2022. MacGowan closed out a special edition of the Late Late Show in 2019 with a performance of Christmas anthem “Fairytale of New York”, with more than 591,000 people tuning in to the programme. In a heartfelt tribute after his death was announced on Thursday 30 November, MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke said: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:32
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The Pogues' brutal putdown of Laurence Fox called one of Shane MacGowan's 'finest works'

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'

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 sor...

Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:22
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Watch: The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan’s last performance before death aged 65

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

Watch Shane MacGowan perform “Dirty Old Town” for Dublin Simon’s 2021 Christmas Eve Busk. It was announced on Thursday 30 November that The Pogues frontman has died aged 65. He had been receiving treatment for months for viral encephalitis - a serious condition which leads to brain swelling. “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life,” wife Victoria Mary Clarke said. Featuring on the Christmas Eve Busk two years ago, MacGowan performed “Dirty Old Town” at St Patrick’s Cathedral in aid of Dublin’s Simon Community. Initially written by Ewan MacColl in 1949, the song was made popular by The Dubliners and later, The Pogues.

Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:07
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Nick Cave describes MacGowan as ‘greatest songwriter of his generation’

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.
Shane MacGowan of The Pogues performs at the T in the Park music festival near Kinross in Scotland. (PA)
Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:05

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