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Shane MacGowan’s Cause Of Death Revealed

5 December 2023 | 12:02 pm | Staff Writer

A funeral for Shane MacGowan will be held on Friday, 8 December, with the service also open to the public.

Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan (Credit: Andrew Catlin)

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The Pogues ringleader Shane MacGowan’s cause of death has been revealed. His wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, told The New York Times that he passed away due to complications from viral encephalitis and pneumonia. He died at the age of 65.

Over the last several months, MacGowan was receiving treatment at a Dublin hospital. He was discharged on Wednesday, 22 November, spending his remaining days at home with his family. He “died peacefully” on Thursday, 30 November.

RTÉ Radio 1 reports that a funeral for MacGowan will be held on Friday, 8 December, with the service also open to the public for fans to farewell the iconic Irish musician. The service begins at Nenagh and heads to Dublin; the funeral will be hosted at the St. Mary of the Rosary church.

MacGowan’s remains will be taken to Tipperary to be cremated, with his ashes to be scattered at the river Shannon, the subject of The Pogues’ song The Broad Majestic Shannon.

Irish President Michael Higgins and Bono are expected to attend MacGowan’s funeral, with the latter, as well as his U2 bandmate The Edge, singer and presenter Imelda May, filmmaker Jim Sheridan, Game Of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen and more visiting MacGowan in his final months.

“He wasn’t ready to give up,” Clarke told RTÉ Radio 1. “He wasn’t ready to stop fighting. But his body did it for him. His body just was like, we can’t do this anymore.”

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Known for his Celtic punk hits, including Fairytale Of New York and The Irish Rover, MacGowan was equally famous for his health issues, including struggles with addiction and excess.

The Pogues were founded in London in 1982 and signed their first record deal in 1984 after supporting The Clash. Their first album turned heads in the underground scene, but their second album, Rum Sodomy & The Lash, produced by Elvis Costello, was their breakthrough, cracking the UK's Top 20 for the first time.

MacGowan’s erratic behaviour and substance abuse came to the fore, with the band’s career going through a rough period before hitting their commercial peak with 1998’s If I Should Fall From Grace With God. Their duet with Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale Of New York, was their biggest hit, reaching #2 in the UK and becoming their biggest hit in Australia, peaking at #45.

MacGowan has left behind a rich music catalogue and an undeniable punk rock legacy.