The Smiths’ Mike Joyce pays tribute to Andy Rourke: “His musical legacy is perpetual”

The bassist died from pancreatic cancer aged 59

Former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce has paid tribute to his ex-bandmate Andy Rourke, following the news of his passing.

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 death, 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.”

Rourke formed The Smiths in Manchester with Marr, Morrissey and Joyce back in 1982.

Writing on Twitter today, the latter 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”.

Joyce continued: “Andy’s left the building, but his musical legacy is perpetual. I miss you so much already. Forever in my heart mate.” You can see that tweet below.

Following The Smiths’ break-up in 1987, 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).

Additionally, the pair performed with the group Moondog One alongside former Oasis guitarist Bonehead.

In a longer tribute message, Marr described Rourke as “one of those rare people that absolutely no one doesn’t like” who will “be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him”.

The guitarist wrote: “We maintained our friendship over the years, no matter where we were or what was happening and it is a matter of personal pride as well as sadness that the last time Andy played on stage was with me and my band at Madison Square Garden in September 2022.

“It was a special moment that we shared with my family and his wife and soul mate Francesca.”

Other artists to have paid their respects to the late bassist include Bonehead, Suede‘s Mat Osman, New Order‘s Tom Chapman, and The Charlatans frontman and soloist Tim Burgess.

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