by Adam Aiken
Keith Levene, a founding member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd, has died at his home in Norfolk from liver cancer, aged 65.
His partner Kate Ransford tweeted: “RIP Keith Levene, my beloved partner who passed away at our home on 11/11/22 peacefully, pain-free, cosy [and] well loved. He was an iconic guitarist and composer, my best friend, my love, my everything, I love you to the moon.”
Levene helped found The Clash in 1976 but left the band a few months later. He formed Public Image Ltd two years after that alongside John Lydon, before quitting after their first three albums.
He later released a bunch of solo albums.
Author Adam Hammond said: “It is with great sadness I report that my close friend and legendary Public Image Limited guitarist Keith Levene passed away on Friday 11th November.
“There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time.
“Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that.
“His guitar work over the nine minutes of Theme, the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be.
“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound. So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith’s work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not.”
He added: “Our thoughts and love go out to his partner Kate, sister Jill and all of Keith’s family and friends. The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine will be darker without my mate.”