Irish singer and actress Imelda May has thanked Shane MacGowan for sharing his “glorious talents”, following his death aged 65.
The Pogues’ frontman, best known for hit festive song Fairytale Of New York, died “peacefully” at 3am on Thursday with his wife and family by his side, a statement from his relatives said.
May, 49, is among a number of celebrities who have paid tribute to the Irish singer, who had been receiving care in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin for an infection, before he was discharged last week ahead of his upcoming birthday on Christmas Day.
On Instagram, May said: “Thank you Shane. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with us your glorious talents. We’ll never see the likes of again.
“Your genius song writing and poetry weaved of words and wisdom that made mortals feel seen, heard and moved from stoney stoicism to quiet tears.
“In a world of perfection bulls*** you were always real. You always lived your truth.
“Your defiance, passion, energy, self awareness, honesty, daring, anger, love was always inspiring.”
She added: “You loved your tribe and we love you.”
May had visited MacGowan while he was in hospital, and in a social media post his wife Victoria Mary Clarke said he was “so happy” to see her.
May wrote in her tribute to MacGowan: “As I told you only last week your magnetism and immense spirit attracted us all like moths to the brightest, hottest flame.”
Another star who paid tribute to MacGowan was former bandmate Spider Stacy, who shared a black and white photo of the singer performing on stage, writing: “O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..”
Singer Billy Bragg hailed the Irish star as “one of the greatest songwriters of my generation”.
He added: “The Pogues reinvigorated folk music in the early 80s and his songs put the focus onto lyric writing, opening doors for the likes of myself and others.”
The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess praised the Irish singer-songwriter as a “lyrical genius” and an “inspiration” to many up-and-coming artists.
‘O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..’ pic.twitter.com/YnkreXRmYB
— Spider Stacy (@spiderstacy) November 30, 2023
“I followed The Pogues to far-flung places, met Shane a few times and watched some of the most exhilarating shows I’ve ever witnessed,” he added.
Australian musician and actor Nick Cave described MacGowan as a “true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation”.
Music producer Jack Antonoff, who has worked with global artists including Taylor Swift and The 1975, said MacGowan made him “feel something” through his work that nobody else could.
He tweeted: “His way is something I feel inspired by everyday in the studio and on tour.
“Love to those close to him and for the rest of us who wouldn’t be here without his music it’s a sad day.”
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) November 30, 2023
Former Countdown star Carol Vorderman shared a photo of a young MacGowan with the late Sinead O’Connor, who died in July aged 56, describing them as “the incredible rebels of my generation”.
Irish President Michael D Higgins said “some form of destiny” led the singer to write Fairytale Of New York after being born on Christmas Day.
Mr Higgins added that it had been a “great honour” to present the singer with a lifetime achievement award at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in January 2018 to mark MacGowan’s 60th birthday.
The London Irish Centre in Camden hailed MacGowan as an “icon” as it announced it will be paying tribute to his “music and influence” on Friday evening.
MacGowan’s wife praised him as the “love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel”.
Alongside a photo of him from his younger years, she added in a post on Instagram: “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.”
MacGowan was born in 1957 in Pembury, Kent and he soon moved to rural Tipperary where he was immersed in an Irish culture of ceili bands and showbands.
Last year he had revealed he was diagnosed with encephalitis in a video posted to social media on New Year’s Eve.
Encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed, according to the NHS website.