‘Fairytale Of New York’ Singer Shane MacGowan Has Died

Shane MacGowan Dead: The 'Fairytale Of New York' singer has tragically died aged 65.
Credit: Alamy

Shane MacGowan has died aged 65.

The lead singer of The Pogues had numerous hit singles such as ‘Dirty Old Town’, ‘Love You ‘Till the End’ and ‘The Irish Rover’.

Undoubtedly though, he will be best known for their Christmas classic ‘Fairytale of New York’ – which was recently voted the most popular Christmas song in the UK, as per The Guardian.

Tragically, it has been announced MacGowan has passed away.

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His wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, confirmed the news in a post on her Instagram, where she described him as the ‘most beautiful soul’.

It reads: “Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese.

“I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.

“There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music.

“You will live in my heart forever. Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much  You meant the world to me.”

Fans have taken to the comments to pay tribute to MacGowan.

One person pens: “So sorry to hear this very sad news Victoria, please accept our thoughts & prayers for Shane.”

Someone else comments: “RIP Shane. My one-year-old dances to the ‘Irish Rover’ almost every day. We’ll never forget you.”

Another fan described him as ‘an absolute legend, now a star in the sky’.

MacGowan had been in intensive care over the past few months, having been diagnosed with viral encephalitis – an ‘uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed’, as per the NHS.

The cause of this illness can be down to several factors, including bacterial infections, issues with your immune system and viral infections – such as chickenpox and cold sores – spreading to the brain.

While some do make a full recovery, others are left with long-term problems caused by damage to their brain – with Johns Hopkins Medicine stating that encephalitis still leads to death in around 10% of patients.

MacGowan’s wife recently said that he was making progress and that there was a chance that he would be home for Christmas.

Shane MacGowan
Shane MacGowan spent his last few months in intensive care. Credit: @victoriamary/X

MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Kent in 1957 and he had a talent for telling stories from a young age – which is shown as he won the Daily Mirror literary prize when he was 13, and earned a scholarship to Westminster School for his essays, as per Sky News.

The Pogues formed in 1982 and while they found success before ‘Fairytale Of New York’, the 1987 Christmas classic cemented the band as a must-listen over the festive period.

Featuring the late Kirsty MacColl, she and McGowan took turns singing as a couple who are going through tough times.

While the song has faced backlash over its language and use of the word f*****t, as per The Guardian, it remains a track that is played nonstop over Christmas.

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MacGowan had several health issues over the years, including being wheelchair-bound after breaking his pelvis while leaving a studio in Dublin in 2015.

Recalling the accident in an interview with Vice, MacGowan explained: “It was a fall and I fell the wrong way.

“I broke my pelvis, which is the worst thing you can do. I’m lame in one leg, I can’t walk around the room without a crutch.”

MacGowan fell in his home and broke his knee in 2021– just after he recovered from a torn ligament.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.