Wilko Johnson, beloved singer-songwriter and guitarist for Dr Feelgood, has passed away aged 75.
The news of Johnson’s death was confirmed via a post on his official social media accounts, revealing that he died at home on Monday (November 21).
The tribute read: “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died.
“He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.”
This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died. He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family's privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.
(Image: Leif Laaksonen) pic.twitter.com/1cRqyi9b9X
— Wilko Johnson (@wilkojohnson) November 23, 2022
Johnson was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2013, saying via a statement from his manager at the time that he did not want to receive treatment or chemotherapy.
The following year however, Johnson underwent an operation and declared himself cancer free, revealing later that he was told he only had 10 months to live and remarking: “I shouldn’t be here at all.”
In 2015, a new documentary titled The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson was released, focusing on Johnson’s cancer scare and featuring only two voices – Johnson’s and that of The Who’s Roger Daltrey.
Johnson played lead guitar with Dr Feelgood from the band’s formation in 1971 until he left in 1977. During his stint, the band scored a Number One album with their 1976 live LP ‘Stupidity’. After departing, Johnson played with The Blockheads for a brief spell in 1980 and released a succession of albums with The Wilko Johnson Band. His autobiography Looking Back At Me was published in June 2012.
Johnson’s final album, ‘Blow Your Mind’, came out in 2018 with The Wilko Johnson Band, and he kept performing live right up until his death, appearing last month (October 18) at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire as part of Planet Rock’s Rocktober event.
Paying tribute to Johnson, Franz Ferdinand‘s Alex Kapranos wrote on Instagram: “Very sad to hear Wilko Johnson has died. His unique, wired playing style and stage presence thrilled and inspired many guitarists, myself included.
“When I interviewed him a few years ago, he was bright, thoughtful and an astonishing story teller, carving legend from life. His presence on this planet will be felt for many more years.”
“Rest in Power Mr Wilko Johnson – you fought the good fight, and had a damn good run,” The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe wrote on Twitter as one of many other tributes to the beloved singer. He added: “When they said it was over, you came back stronger.”
Rest in Power Mr Wilko Johnson – you fought the good fight, and had a damn good run. when they said it was over, you came back stronger. cheers mate 🍻 pic.twitter.com/3vXuT8ixtk
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) November 23, 2022
See a host of tributes to Wilko Johnson below.
Sleep well, Wilko Johnson. The unsung inventor of post Mod, Mod. https://t.co/207CBeHhcY
— Sleaford Mods (@sleafordmods) November 23, 2022
Throwback Wednesday: For obvious sad reasons, a day early this week. Following today’s awful news of the passing of the legendary RnB guitar hero Wilko Johnson, here he is with his old friend & flatmate JJ a few years ago. Fly straight Wilko, fond adieu RIP x pic.twitter.com/bKmbxNhmuM
— The Stranglers (Official) (@StranglersSite) November 23, 2022
I’m sad to hear today of the passing of Wilko Johnson, the Dr Feelgood guitarist and singer/songwriter.
I saw Wilko perform at Koko in Camden in May 2013 and the atmosphere was electric. This show was originally billed as his farewell tour pic.twitter.com/M1sQIEe4mm
— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) November 23, 2022
Wilko Johnson started from scratch and invented a new way to play guitar. Manifesting in his rhythm hand the amphetamine intensity of an era, he inspired a generation of twitchy dorks like me. Without him, I probably play clarinet. Requiescat. https://t.co/2VwlLt05u3
— steve albini (@electricalWSOP) November 23, 2022
Ahh- one of my all time tele heroes.. farewell, Wilko… pic.twitter.com/8NKcrvH7Y4
— graham coxon (@grahamcoxon) November 23, 2022
Oh , shit, Wilko the guitar man , so sad-Edwyn
— Edwyn Collins (@EdwynCollins) November 23, 2022
RIP Wilko Johnson, a truly great and unique guitarist. https://t.co/8ZXpCP5q8C
— LoneLady (@LoneLadyHQ) November 23, 2022
Always remember that all the music before punk was self indulgent and lifeless. God bless Wilkohttps://t.co/noA3e4wqfT
— Mark Lamarr (@lamarr_mark) November 23, 2022
God speed Wilko
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) November 23, 2022
This is a developing story and will be updated…