New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain Dies at 69

The punk icon had been battling cancer since 2019

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Jan 15, 2021

Famed New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain has lost his battle with cancer. The punk icon passed away Wednesday (January 13), his family announced. He was 69.

"As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years," his wife, Wanda O'Kelley Mizrahi, wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday night. "Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let's send this beautiful doll on his way."

As previously reported, Sylvain revealed his cancer diagnosis in 2019, when he launched a GoFundMe to help pay for his ongoing treatment.

Born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt, Sylvain eventually moved to New York, where he co-founded New York Dolls in 1971. In addition to playing guitar, he also did bass, piano and vocals, as well as has various songwriting credits.

With Sylvain and vocalist David Johansen remaining as the core members of the Dolls until their breakup in 1977, the band's 1973 self-titled debut album remains an undisputed classic, spawning such cult hits as "Personality Crisis" and "Bad Girl." This was follow-up by their beloved sophomore effort Too Much Too Soon in 1974.

Beyond his work in the band, Sylvain released several albums as a solo artist up until the late '90s, as well as rejoined the New York Dolls for their reunion albums in the 2000s.

"My best friend for so many years," Johansen wrote. "I can still remember the first time I saw him bop into the rehearsal space/bicycle shop with his carpetbag and guitar straight from the plane after having been deported from Amsterdam, I instantly loved him. I'm gonna miss you old pal. I'll keep the home fires burning. au revoir Syl mon vieux copain."


Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi Rest In Peace February 14, 1951 ~ January 13, 2021 As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer...

Posted by Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi on Thursday, 14 January 2021

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