October 29th, 2013
Reed died after a long battle with hepatitis C, an infection that he may have picked up decades ago from using intravenous drugs. Reed was known to be a heavy drinker and drug user for many years and received a liver transplant in early 2013 from which he never fully recovered.
Best known for tracks including Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side, Reed was considered one of the most influential singers and songwriters in rock. Although the Velvet Underground never achieved commercial success during their 1960s existence, their influence in later decades was widely recognised. The punk, glam and alternative rock movements of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s were indebted to Reed, whose songs were covered by the likes of REM, David Bowie and Nirvana.
John Cale, his long-time friend and a founding member of the Velvet Underground, said: “The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet … I’ve lost my school-yard buddy.”
Many tributes have been quick to appear from the likes of David Bowie, Nile Rodgers of Chic and even Salman Rushdie.
In June, his wife, Laurie Anderson, revealed how ill he had been. “It’s as serious as it gets. He is dying.”
Despite his illness, Reed appeared to have made a recovery after the transplant earlier in the year. He assured his fans: ”I am bigger and stronger than ever … I look forward to being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future.” But his health severely declined over the following months and he had been critically ill for weeks prior to his death on Sunday morning in Southampton, New York.
Many mourn Lou Reed’s passing, but his legacy lives on as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greats.
Read more hepatitis C news here.
Photo from NME.com