Keith Levene dead at 65 | entertainment

Keith Levene has died.

The Public Image Ltd. guitarist, who was also a founding member of The Clash, died on Friday (11/11/22) of liver cancer at the age of 65, according to his family and friends.

His partner Kate Ransford, who was with the musician along with his sister Jill Bennett and her husband in his last hours, said Keith died “peaceful, settled, comfortable and loved”.

The news was first announced by writer Adam Hammond, who had been working with the musician on a story by PiL.

He tweeted: “It is with great sadness that I announce that my close friend and legendary Public Image Limited guitarist, Keith Levene, passed away on Friday, April 11th.

“Keith was undoubtedly one of the most innovative, daring and influential guitarists of all time.

“Keith strove to create a new paradigm in music and with his willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble he succeeded in doing just that. His guitar work defined the nine minutes of ‘Theme’, the first track on the first PiL album what alternative music is should be.

“Not only did Keith help make PiL the most important band of their time, he also formed The Clash with Mick Jones and was a huge influence on their early sound.

“So much of what we hear today is due to Keith’s work, some credited, most not.

“Our thoughts and love go out to his partner Kate, sister Jill and all of Keith’s family and friends. The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine will be darker without my mate.”

Former PiL drummer Martin Atkins paid tribute to the “guitar giant”.

He retweeted a picture of the band from 1980 and wrote: “Sad time to learn of the death of guitar giant Keith Levene.

“We had our ups and downs, which had softened over time. My respect for his unique talent never will. @pilofficial”

Bandmate Jah Wobble simply tweeted, “RIP KEITH LEVINE”

He later thanked fans for their kind messages as he began retweeting a number of other tributes.

He wrote, “Thank you for all the condolences to Keith… but it is his partner and family who are truly saddened by his death (sic).”

Keith – who was born Julian Levene in Muswell Hill, north London – formed fellow bandmate Mick Jones in 19976 and encouraged Joe Strummer to leave his own group to join them. He left the punk pioneers before they recorded many songs, but appears on “What’s My Name” on their debut album.

In 1978 he joined John Lydon and Jah Wobble at Public Image Ltd. before retiring in 1983 due to creative differences.

Towards the end of his career he released a number of solo records and was an investor in Bitcoin.


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