Legendary guitarist Lou Reed, a punk poet whose lyrics have influenced more than four generations of rockers, passed away on Sunday. He was 71 years old.
His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, shared the news of his death, claiming the singer/songwriter's death is due to complications with a recent liver transplant, The New York Times says. Lou's survived by his wife, friends and a legion of fans.
The Brooklyn-based musician first gained recognition as principal singer in the Velvet Underground, a band whose cult following escalated its popularity in the 1960s. Thrashing guitar, poetic melodies revolutionized rock n' roll. Songs like "Sunday Morning" and "Sweet Jane" garnered an induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in '96.
Lou's collaboration with Andy Warhol produced one of the most influential albums of all times - The Velvet Underground & Nico. It ranked in the top 20 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Times. "Heroin," "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "The Black Angel's Death Song" are just three of the 11 examples of Reed's musical genius.
Many of Warhol's associates influenced Lou's early music, but the singer/songwriter soon quit the band and found new direction under David Bowie's watchful eye. In 1972, he released "A Walk on the Wild Side," an ode to his time hanging with Warhol and the hustlers, misfits and transvestites who surrounded them.
He even played a few songs for Pope John Paul II.
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In 2011, Lou collaborated with Metallica on Lulu, an album based on two plays by the German playwright Frank Wedekind. "It was like operatic in theory," Lou said in a recent interview with Interview Magazine. It is one of his final studio recordings.
Like many rock stars, Lou was a hard drinker and drug user for years, and recently underwent a liver transplant at the Cleveland Mayo Clinic. "I am a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry," he said in a public statement on his website after the surgery.