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Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan remembered as a ‘lyrical genius’

Shane MacGowan (PA)
Shane MacGowan (PA)

Famous faces from the world of music have remembered The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan as a “lyrical genius” after his death at the age of 65.

The Irish singer, best known for hit festive song Fairytale Of New York, died “peacefully” at 3am on Thursday with his wife and family by his side, a statement from his relatives said.

MacGowan was discharged last week from St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin ahead of his 66th birthday on Christmas Day.

He had revealed he was diagnosed with encephalitis last year in a video posted to social media on New Year’s Eve.

Among the stars to pay tribute to MacGowan was former bandmate Spider Stacy, who shared a black and white photo of the singer performing on stage, writing: “O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..”

Singer Billy Bragg hailed the Irish star as “one of the greatest songwriters of my generation”.

He added: “The Pogues reinvigorated folk music in the early 80s and his songs put the focus onto lyric writing, opening doors for the likes of myself and others.”

The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess praised the Irish singer-songwriter as a “lyrical genius” and an “inspiration” to many up-and-coming artists.

“I followed The Pogues to far-flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed,” he added.

Australian musician and actor Nick Cave described MacGowan as a “true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation”.

Music producer Jack Antonoff, who has worked with global artists including Taylor Swift and The 1975, said MacGowan made him “feel something” through his work that nobody else could.

He tweeted: “His way is something I feel inspired by everyday in the studio and on tour. Love to those close to him and for the rest of us who wouldn’t be here without his music it’s a sad day.”

Former Countdown star Carol Vorderman shared a photo of a young MacGowan with the late Sinead O’Connor, who died in July aged 56, describing them as “the incredible rebels of my generation”.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said “some form of destiny” led the singer to write Fairytale Of New York after being born on Christmas Day.

He added: “The timeless quality of which will surely mean that it will be listened to every Christmas for the next century or more.”

Mr Higgins added that it had been a “great honour” to present the singer with a lifetime achievement award at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in January 2018 to mark MacGowan’s 60th birthday.

Ireland’s deputy premier, Micheal Martin, said he was “devastated” at the news, hailing MacGowan as an “iconic musician talented in many genres”.

“His passing is particularly poignant at this time of year as we listen to Fairytale Of New York – a song that resonates with all of us,” he added.