According to the BBC, Irish musician Shane MacGowan announced almost a year ago that he suffers from this unusual but serious disease, which causes inflammation of the brain. “You meant the world to me,” MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke, an Irish journalist and author, wrote on Instagram.
Irish President Michael Higgins has described Shane MacGowan as one of the “greatest musicians and songwriters”. “Like many people around the world, I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Shane MacGowan this morning,” Higgins said, according to the BBC.
MacGowan was born in Kent, England to a family of Irish immigrants. But he spent his early youth in Ireland. He founded the band Pogue Mahone, whose name was later shortened to The Pogues, in 1982. From the beginning, the Pogues were characterized by a combination of Irish music and hard guitars. Folk-punk bands such as Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys still draw from the foundations laid by the Pogues.
MacGowan left the Pogues in 1991 – the rest of the band fired him due to his unreliability and drinking problems. At that time, MacGowan performed under his civil name until 2001, when the Pogues returned to the stage with the original line-up. They worked that way until 2014, when MacGowan stated, among other things, “We just got a little tired of each other. We’re friends until we go on tour together. I’ve done a lot of touring. I have had enough.”
Probably the band’s best-known work was created in 1988, when in collaboration with singer Kirsty MacColl MacGowan wrote the Christmas song Fairytale of New York. It reached number two in the British charts and is still one of the most popular British Christmas songs.