New York Dolls’ guitarist Sylvain Sylvain dead at 69 after cancer battle

He had been battling the disease for two and a half years

Sylvain Sylvain, guitarist of proto-punk band New York Dolls, has died. He was 69 years old.

The news was confirmed on January 15 (Friday) via a statement on Sylvain’s official Facebook page, where it was revealed that he had passed from the cancer he’d been living with for over two years.

“Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease,” the statement reads. “While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let’s send this beautiful doll on his way.”

The statement also included a tribute from Lenny Kaye, a member of the Patti Smith Group.

“Syl loved rock and roll,” Kaye wrote.

“His onstage joy, his radiant smile as he chopped at his guitar, revealed the sense of wonder he must have felt at the age of 10, emigrating from his native Cairo with his family in 1961, the ship pulling into New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.”

“His role in the band was as lynchpin, keeping the revolving satellites of his bandmates in precision,” Kaye continued.

“Though he tried valiantly to keep the band going, in the end the Dolls’ moral fable overwhelmed them, not before seeding an influence that would engender many rock generations yet to come.”

Kaye signed his tribute off with, “Thank you Sylvain x 2, for your heart, belief, and the way you whacked that E chord. Sleep Baby Doll.” Read it in full below.

Sylvain Sylvain MizrahiRest In PeaceFebruary 14, 1951 ~ January 13, 2021As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer…

Posted by Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi on Thursday, January 14, 2021

Sylvain was a part of New York Dolls from 1971 until their second dissolution in 2012. The band’s most recent album, ‘Dancing Backwards In High Heels’, was released in 2011.

New York Dolls vocalist David Johansen has paid tribute to Sylvain, whom he called eulogised as “my best friend for so many years.” He added, “I’m gonna miss you old pal. I’ll keep the home fires burning.”

Read more tributes to Sylvain from The 1975’s Matty Healy and members of Pearl Jam, The Waterboys, The Go-Gos and more below:

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