The Pogues Lead Singer Shane MacGowan Dead At 65

English-born Irish musician Shane MacGowan, of the group the Pogues, performs onstage at the Vic Theater, Chicago, Illinois, July 12, 1986.
Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Lead singer of the The Pogues, Shane MacGowan, has died following a year-long health battle with encephalitis. He was 65.

MacGowan’s wife, Victoria, confirmed the reports about his death on Thursday. In a heartbreaking post on Instagram, she wrote, “I don’t know how to say this … So I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear…”

“…has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese,” her post added. “I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.”

MacGowan’s spokesperson said that the singer “died peacefully at 3:30am this morning (November 30) with his wife and sister by his side. Prayers and the last rites were read during his passing,” BBC noted.

The Irish punk frontman’s death follows news about his recent hospital stay that ended on November 22, BBC noted. It comes after he first shared the encephalitis diagnosis with fans last December. It is a condition when the brain becomes inflamed.


MacGowan founded the Irish group in 1982 with Jem Finer, Spider Stacy, and James Fearnley. The singer-songwriter had massive success with his 1987 Christmas duet “Fairytale of New York” with Kirsty MacColl, the Express noted.

When it was released, the song reached number one on the Irish chart and number two in the U.K. Since then, it’s reportedly been one of the most popular Christmas songs in the United Kingdom.

MacGowan was with the band until he was dropped by the group in 1991 following his battles with alcohol and drugs. The group reformed in 2001 and finally split up in 2014.

Recently, the NFL brothers Jason and Travis Kelce have done a remake of the song called “Fairytale of Philadelphia” for the charity holiday album “A Philly Special Christmas Special,” with Jason’s fellow Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson. The song debuted on November 15 and has reached number one on the Billboard charts, CBS noted.

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