Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Lou Reed - rock legend and Velvet Underground founder - dies aged 71

Hugely influential guitarist and songwriter suffered serious health problems earlier this year but cause of death has not yet been confirmed

Lou Reed co-founded the Velvet Underground
Lou Reed co-founded the Velvet Underground

Lou Reed - the legendary singer, guitarist and songwriter - has died aged 71, according to reports from Rolling Stone magazine.

The hugely influential guitarist and songwriter suffered serious health problems earlier this year, receiving a liver transplant in May, but the cause of his death has not yet been released.

Wife Laurie Anderson told The Times in June that Reed "was dying" before his operation at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic. But he had seemed to recover well.

Reed gained a significant cult following in the late 1960s with the Velvet Underground, before embarking on a solo career which would see him become one of rock’s greatest ever stars.

The 1972 album Transformer, produced by David Bowie, included the radio hit “Walk on the Wild Side” – the song that would become his signature.

Famed for his excessive drug use and quintessential rock lifestyle, Reed was nonetheless prolific throughout the 1970s, as the albums Sally Can’t Dance (1974), Metal Machine Music (1975) and Take No Prisoners (1978) followed.

In the 1980s, Reed began to mellow, though the 1982 album The Blue Mask, following his marriage to Sylvia Morales, was hailed as his best work since Transformer.

The Velvet Underground reunited in 1994, and successfully embarked on a European tour. In 1999, Reed divorced Morales, and a few years later began a relationship with the musician and performing artist Laurie Anderson. They married in 2008.

Continuing to work into the 2000s, Reed fully denounced his hedonistic past by becoming an active follower of T-ai Chi. He released an ambient album called Hudson River Wind Meditations, only returning to mainstream rock briefly with a Metallica collaboration entitled Lulu.

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