Dr. Feelgood guitarist, punk icon and Game of Thrones actor, Wilko Johnson, has died in his home at the age of 75.
Wilko Johnson died at his residence in southeast England on Monday (November 21), as announced on social media yesterday: “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart,” read the Twitter statement.
“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.”
A pioneer of the UK punk surge in the ’70s, Wilko Johnson played guitar for Essex-hailing rock band, Dr. Feelgood. Later down the track, he scored a role in the renowned series Game of Thrones, playing a silent executioner named Ser Ilyn Payne.
Johnson’s cause of death is yet to be confirmed, but the legendary artist was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012. At the time, he refused chemotherapy treatment, telling BBC Radio 5 Live, “the decision was quite easy — chemotherapy could do no more than extend my life for a relatively short period, and I thought I’d just rather enjoy the health that was left to me.”
This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & 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.
(Image: Leif Laaksonen) pic.twitter.com/1cRqyi9b9X
— Wilko Johnson (@wilkojohnson) November 23, 2022
However, Johnson ended up undergoing radical surgery and announced his cancer-free status in 2014. Thereafter, he released a new record titled Blow Your Mind in 2018. More recently, he performed shows with his Wilko Johnson Band, with his final stage appearance being at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on October 18.
Wilko Johnson was a precursor of punk. His guitar playing was angry and angular, but his presence – twitchy, confrontational, out of control – was something we’d never beheld before in UK pop. Rotten, Strummer and Weller learned a lot from his edgy demeanour. He does it right RIP pic.twitter.com/ukoJ69r41h
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) November 23, 2022