Lou Reed, former Velvet Underground frontman and the writer of such well-loved solo hits as Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side, has died aged 71.
Reed’s literary agent said the musician had succumbed to a “liver-related ailment”, according to the Press Association.
A self-confessed drug user and heavy drinker for many years, Reed received a liver transplant in May, after being forced to cancel a string of concert dates. In June he told fans via his website, “I am a triumph of modern medicine… 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.”
Reed’s band The Velvet Underground formed in New York City and played together between 1963 and 1974. They were managed by pop artist Andy Warhol, with members including John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker, and despite minimal commercial success, have been hugely influential.
Their songs have been covered by stars including David Bowie, Nirvana and REM and their first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, was named the 13th greatest rock album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
Music producer Brian Eno once said of the album: “[It] only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”
Reed subsequently had a successful solo career, releasing 20 albums, and performing live until his death. His second and best-known album, Transformer, included the hits Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day – the latter gaining a new generation of fans in 1997 when it was re-recorded as a Children in Need charity single, featuring a staggering array of artists including Bono, David Bowie, Elton John, Suzanne Vega and Shame MacGowan.