Wilko Johnson has died aged 75. The musician, who was the guitarist for the legendary pub rock group Dr Feelgood in the 1970s – was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2013, and sadly passed away on Monday.
A statement on his Twitter page read: “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.”
Wilko refused to give in to self-pity because he knew everyone’s time draws to an end eventually. He said in 2017: “That year thinking my life was at an end was one of the greatest years of my life.
“The way I handled it was at all times to understand, ‘Yes, I’m gonna die’ but don’t sit there wishing you aren’t gonna die because we’re all gonna die. I never felt self-pity. I was never in tears all that time…
“Looking out at thousands and thousands of people [at Fuji Rock in Japan] and they all know you’re gonna die… oh man. I’m gonna die, but it’s alright. What a high.”
The legendary guitarist – whose beloved wife Irene died of cancer in 2004 – defied the odds and overcome the disease following a risky 12-hour operation and admitted it can be “hard” to know he survived where so many others don’t.
He added: “It’s hard to know there are people suffering from cancer who don’t survive, and then me.”
The Essex-born star was famous for his unique fingerstyle guitar-playing without a pick.
Paul Weller, 64, was inspired by Wilko, once saying: “Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he’s right up there. And there are a lot of people who’ll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It’s some legacy.”