Keith Levene dead at 65

Original member of The Clash and Public Image Ltd Keith Levene has died of liver cancer.



Keith Levene has died
Keith Levene has died

Keith Levene has died.

The Public Image Ltd. guitarist - who was also one of the original members of The Clash - died of liver cancer at the age of 65 on Friday (11.11.22), his family and friends have revealed.

His partner, Kate Ransford, who was with the musician in his final hours along with his sister Jill Bennett and her husband, said Keith had died "peacefully, settled, cosy and loved".

The news was first announced by writer Adam Hammond, who had been working with the musician on a history of PiL.

He tweeted: "It is with great sadness I report that my close friend and legendary Public Image Limited guitarist Keith Levene passed away on Friday 11th November.

"There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time.

"Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that. His guitar work over the nine minutes of 'Theme', the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be.

"As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound.

"So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith's work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not.

"Our thoughts and love go out to his partner Kate, sister Jill and all of Keith's family and friends. The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine will be darker without my mate."

PiL's former drummer, Martin Atkins, paid tribute to the "guitar giant".

Retweeting an image of the band from 1980, he wrote: "A sad time to learn of the passing of guitar giant Keith Levene.

"We had our ups and downs that had mellowed over time. My respect for his unique talent never will. @pilofficial"

Bandmate Jah Wobble simply tweeted: "RIP KEITH LEVINE"

He later thanked fans for their kind messages as he began retweeting a number of other tributes.

He wrote: "Thanks for all the messages of condolence re Keith …but it’s his partner and family who are really impacted by his passing (sic)"

Keith - who was born Julian Levene in Muswell Hill, north London - founded The Clash win bandmate Mick Jones in 19976 and encouraged Joe Strummer to quit his own group to join them. He left the punk pioneers before they had recorded many songs, but does appear on 'What's My Name' on their debut album.

He went on to join John Lydon and Jah Wobble in Public Image Ltd. in 1978, before quitting in 1983 over creative differences.

He released a number of solo records towards the end of his career and was an investor in Bitcoin.

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