Keith Levene is dead. This is reported by several media outlets in Great Britain and other countries, citing above all a report by the "Guardian" and a tweet by author Adam Hammond, who is considered a close friend of Levene.
Hammond told the BBC the musician had been living with liver cancer for two years. However, his death was sudden. According to the information, Levene died on Friday at the age of 65.
Levene's partner Kate Ransford told The Guardian on Saturday night that the musician died "peaceful, calm, comfortable and loved." She was with him along with Levene's sister and her husband when his life came to an end.
Keith Levene co-founded the legendary British punk band The Clash ("Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"). That was in 1976, when the London native was just 18 years old. The punk sound of the 70s and 80s, which Levene helped shape and developed, shaped the attitude towards life of an entire generation. That's why the death of the musician is attracting a lot of attention this weekend.
Levene didn't share in the big hits back then, though, as he left The Clash before the band rose to fame. According to a report by the dpa, the reason was disagreements about the political attitude. He contributed to a few songs on the first record "What's My Name", but had already moved on before success set in and the formation became internationally famous.
Adam Hammond has called his friend one of the most influential guitarists of our time, the BBC reports. His name was often mentioned in connection with well-known bands of the past decades. The Guardian writes that Levene left a lasting influence on British rock music.
After leaving The Clash, Levene formed Public Image Ltd with Sex Pistols singer John Lydon. Later in his career, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked with some hot bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to the British broadcaster. According to the "Guardian", John Frusciante, guitarist of the US band, once said about his English colleague that he explored the possibilities of what you could do with a guitar.
Levene's close friend Adam Hammond expressed his sadness when speaking to the BBC. The two had just finished a book together through Public Image Ltd and were still working on the music to accompany the release. Levene had so many plans, the author said. "There was so much he did."
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Sources: BBC / "The Guardian", with material from dpa