Punk legend and television frontman Tom Verlaine (1949-2023) died "after a short illness" on Saturday at the age of 73. This was announced by the "New York Times", citing Jesse Paris Smith (born 1987), the daughter of rock legend Patti Smith (76). "He died peacefully in New York City surrounded by close friends."
His death touched many. Punk icon Billy Idol, 67, tweeted: "Sad to hear Tom Verlaine passed away today. He made incredible music that had a huge impact on the US and UK punk rock scene in the 1970s - RIP. "
Susanna Hoffs (64), founding member of the Bangles, mourned on Twitter: "Peace and love, Tom Verlaine".
Blondie guitarist Chris Stein (73) recalled his first encounter with the late singer, songwriter and fellow guitarist via Twitter. "I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC, I think '72," he began. "He had long hair and he came into my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he wrote," Stein continued.
"No, not Tom Verlaine," 1990s band Garbage tweeted.
"Aww man... rest in peace Tom Verlaine," wrote actor Elijah Wood (42) on Twitter.
Born Thomas Miller on December 13, 1949 in Denville, New Jersey, Verlaine studied piano and saxophone at an early age. He discovered his enthusiasm for the guitar after hearing the Rolling Stones' song "19th Nervous Breakdown" in 1966, according to Far Out Magazine.
After meeting Richard Hell, 73, at Sanford School, a boarding school in Delaware, the pair moved to New York City, where they adopted their stage names - Verlaine was inspired by French poet Paul Verlaine - and drummer Billy Ficca (72) founded the punk trio Neon Boys.
The group quickly disbanded before re-forming as Television months later, adding guitarist Richard Lloyd (1945-2008). They rose to prominence in the punk scene with performances at CBGB and Max's Kansas City. Television recorded two albums, Marquee Moon (1977) and Adventure (1978), which were critically acclaimed but flopped commercially before disbanding in July 1978.
Before re-forming the band several times and releasing their third, self-titled album in 1992, Verlaine enjoyed a solo career in England, where he had a loyal following. Over the years he has worked with several big names in rock music.