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Wilko Johnson Has Died
Patrick Clarke , November 23rd, 2022 10:23

The Dr. Feelgood guitarist died at home, aged 75

Photo by Leif Laaksonen

Wilko Johnson, best known as the guitarist for Dr. Feelgood, has died, aged 75.

A post on Johnson's social media accounts, which did not reveal a cause of death, confirmed the news, saying: "This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died. He passed away at home on Monday, 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family's privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson."

Widely acclaimed as one of the most innovative and distinctive guitarists of his generation, Johnson, and Dr. Feelgood, are commonly cited as one of the key influences on the British punk movement of the late 1970s.

Born in Canvey Island, Essex, Johnson formed Dr. Feelgood in 1971 alongside singer Lee Brilleaux and bassist John B. 'Sparko' Sparks. Drummer John 'The Big Figure' Martin joined shortly afterwards. Becoming one of the most popular bands on London's pub rock circuit, Johnson recorded three studio albums with the band, as well as the chart-topping 1976 live album Stupidity.

Johnson went on to form The Wilko Johnson Band, and also joined Ian Dury's band The Blockheads. He later made his acting debut in 2011, appearing as Ser Ilyn Payne in Game Of Thrones.

In January 2013, he was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer. At that time he told BBC Radio 4's Front Row that he had been given nine or ten months to live. Describing the diagnosis as making him feel "vividly alive," he embarked on a farewell tour, and recorded an album with Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home, which was released the following year.

In 2014, while receiving the 'Icon Award' at the Q Awards, Johnson revealed that, after an eleven-hour operation, he was now cancer free.

A further social media post following the initial confirmation of Johnson's death said: "As many of you know, we have cancer doctor Charlie Chan and surgeon Emmanuel Huguet to thank for the extra years Wilko was able to enjoy."

In addition, Huguet commented: "I feel honoured to have known Wilko. He was uplifting and life enhancing for me. Like so many other people, I loved him."