Ireland

Shane MacGowan was ‘vibrant, beautiful and determined to live’, wife says

Former frontman of The Pogues Shane MacGowan with his wife Victoria Clarke (Liam McBurney/PA)
Former frontman of The Pogues Shane MacGowan with his wife Victoria Clarke (Liam McBurney/PA) Former frontman of The Pogues Shane MacGowan with his wife Victoria Clarke (Liam McBurney/PA)

The wife of Shane MacGowan has said the singer was “so vibrant and beautiful and so determined to live only a few days ago” before his death at the age of 65.

Victoria Mary Clarke was at the side of the frontman of The Pogues along with his family when he died “peacefully” at 3am on Thursday, just weeks before his 66th birthday on Christmas Day.

On Monday, Clarke wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “It’s so hard to believe that someone could be so vibrant and beautiful and so determined to live only a few days ago.

“But so many people are losing loved ones all over the world. My prayers are for all of you guys as Shane’s would be.”

The Irish journalist, 57, had been keeping fans regularly updated on his health condition and in late November she said he was recently discharged from St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

In a follow-up post on Monday, she also wrote: “Shane was always able to smile right until the last and his smile had a way of lightning up everyone around him no matter how much he was struggling or in pain.

“I hope this smile can still work its magic.”

He had been diagnosed with encephalitis following his latest bout of ill health and after years of alcohol and substance abuse.

According to the New York Times, his wife said he died of pneumonia.

There has been a recent campaign for The Pogues’ most famous song, Fairytale Of New York, to make it to number one.

Originally released in 1987 and previously peaking at number two, the band’s gritty festive song has never reached the top spot in the UK charts.

Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday: “It would be nice, wouldn’t it?

“It should be the Christmas number one, it absolutely should. I’m very much in favour of that.”

British Summertime Festival – London
British Summertime Festival – London Shane MacGowan was ‘so vibrant and beautiful’, his wife said (Laura Lean/PA)

The song features a duet between English singer Kirsty MacColl – who died in December 2000 – and MacGowan.

It was originally written by MacGowan with fellow Pogues founder Jem Finer.

The song has returned to the UK Christmas top 40 every year since 2005 but never reached the top spot, according to the Official Charts Company.

The Pogues are also known for tracks A Pair of Brown Eyes and Dirty Old Town as well as a recording of The Irish Rover with The Dubliners.