Andy Rourke, the deft musician behind the Smiths’ most iconic basslines, has died at 59, Johnny Marr has confirmed.

The bassist was an essential member of the band, appearing on all four of their studio albums and even Morrissey’s solo releases following their breakup in 1987. He also collaborated with Sinéad O’Connor and the Pretenders in the ’90s. His final performance, fittingly, went down in September 2022 at Maddison Square Garden with Marr’s band.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Andy Rourke after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer. Andy will be remembered as a kind and beautiful soul by those who knew him and as a supremely gifted musician by music fans. We request privacy at this sad time,” Marr shared on social media.

Marr went on to pen a loving tribute to his bandmate, sharing that they met in 1975 at school — seven years before the Smiths were formed in 1982 — and were “best friends, going everywhere together.” “Watching him play those dazzling baselines was an absolute privilege and genuinely something to behold… We maintained our friendship over the years, no matter where we were or what was happening,” he wrote. Read the full tribute below.