Morrissey remembers The Smiths’ Andy Rourke: “He will never die as long as his music is heard”

The former frontman described the late bassist as "very, very funny and very happy"

Morrissey has paid tribute to former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke following the news of his death.

Rourke died after “a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer”, confirmed a statement from Johnny Marr this morning (May 19). He was 59 years old.

Expressing his “deep sadness” over his passing, Marr added: “Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans.”

The soloist has since shared a longer message, in which he described Rourke as “one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like”. Marr went on to say that he’d “be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him”.

Elsewhere, ex-Smiths drummer Mike Joyce hailed Rourke as “not only the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the privilege to play with but the sweetest, funniest lad I’ve ever met”.

He continued: “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.”

Now, Morrissey has paid tribute in a statement titled ‘Beam Of Light’ on his official ‘Morrissey Central’ website.

Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke of The Smiths pose together in 1985
Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke of The Smiths in 1985. CREDIT: Getty

“Sometimes one of the most radical things you can do is to speak clearly,” the singer wrote. “When someone dies, out come the usual blandishments … as if their death is there to be used. I’m not prepared to do this with Andy.

“I just hope … wherever Andy has gone … that he’s OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn’t ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else. His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done.”

Morrissey added: “He was also very, very funny and very happy, and post-Smiths, he kept a steady identity – never any manufactured moves. I suppose, at the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that.”

Rourke formed The Smiths in Manchester with Morrissey, Marr and Joyce back in 1982. He contributed to all four of Manchester band’s studio albums: 1984’s ‘The Smiths’, 1985’s ‘Meat Is Murder’, 1986’s ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and 1987’s ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’.

Following The Smiths’ split, Rourke and Joyce both played with Sinéad O’Connor. They also provided the rhythm section for two solo singles by Morrissey: ‘Interesting Drug’ and ‘The Last Of The Famous International Playboys’ (both released in 1989).

Other artists to have paid their respects to the late bassist include former Oasis guitarist Bonehead (who played with Rourke in Moondog One), Suede‘s Mat Osman, New Order‘s Tom Chapman, and The Charlatans frontman and soloist Tim Burgess.

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