Wilko Johnson Dead at 75
The founding guitarist of Dr. Feelgood and 'Game of Thrones' actor was diagnosed with cancer in 2013
His family shared the news of his death on social media, sharing that Johnson passed away at home on Monday (November 21).
"This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died," they posted to his Twitter account. "Thank you for respecting the family's privacy at this very sad time."
This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & 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.— Wilko Johnson (@wilkojohnson) November 23, 2022
(Image: Leif Laaksonen) pic.twitter.com/1cRqyi9b9X
Dr. Feelgood followed with a statement of their own on Facebook, writing, "We regret to hear of the death of Wilko Johnson. As a founding member of Dr. Feelgood he wrote some great songs which we still play today. Our thoughts and condolences to his family at this sad time."
Born in Canvey Island, Essex, Johnson formed Dr. Feelgood alongside Lee Brilleaux and John B. Sparks in 1971, later adding drummer John Martin to the mix. Johnson played with the band until 1977, leaving in the wake of disagreements over which tracks to include in the would-be 1977 album Sneakin' Suspicion; he maintained that they kicked him out, while the remaining members claim he left voluntarily.
For his work in the blues rock band and beyond, the musician is considered to be a major influence on the English punk movement for his percussive guitar style.
In 2011, Johnson made his acting debut as mute executioner Ser Ilyn Payne in the first two seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2013, the musician was told that he had 10 months to live — then was declared cancer-free in October 2014. He went on to release collaborative album Going Back Home with the Who's Roger Daltrey in 2014 and his most recent solo offering, Blow Your Mind, in 2018.
"More than anything Wilko wanted to be a poet," Daltrey said in a statement [via Metro]. "I was lucky to have known him and have him as a friend. His music lives on but there's no escaping the final curtain this time."
The Who frontman is one of the many musicians who have paid tribute to Johnson following the news of his death. See some of those social media posts below.
Ahh- one of my all time tele heroes.. farewell, Wilko… pic.twitter.com/8NKcrvH7Y4— graham coxon (@grahamcoxon) November 23, 2022
I'm sad to hear today of the passing of Wilko Johnson, the Dr Feelgood guitarist and singer/songwriter.— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) November 23, 2022
I saw Wilko perform at Koko in Camden in May 2013 and the atmosphere was electric. This show was originally billed as his farewell tour pic.twitter.com/M1sQIEe4mm
God speed Wilko— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) November 23, 2022
Wilko Johnson was a precursor of punk. His guitar playing was angry and angular, but his presence - twitchy, confrontational, out of control - was something we'd never beheld before in UK pop. Rotten, Strummer and Weller learned a lot from his edgy demeanour. He does it right RIP pic.twitter.com/ukoJ69r41h— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) November 23, 2022