Strummer Died of Heart Attack

Musicians remember former Clash leader

December 24, 2002 12:00 AM ET

An autopsy conducted today confirmed that Joe Strummer's death was the result of a sudden cardiac arrest. Strummer, the former singer, guitarist and songwriter for legendary punk rockers the Clash, died Sunday at his home in Somerset, England, after returning from walking his dog; he was fifty. His wife, Lucinda, was not able to revive him. In addition to his wife, Strummer is survived by his two daughters and stepdaughter.

At the time of his death, Strummer was working on a third album with his band, the Mescaleros. He was also writing a song with Bono and Dave Stewart to serve as the centerpiece of the Mandela SOS fundraising concert, an AIDS awareness benefit set for February 2nd at the site of Nelson Mandela's former prison on Robben Island in South Africa.

Strummer's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Mandela SOS concert (www.mandelasos.com).

As the news of Strummer's death spread Monday, his fellow musicians spoke out on the life and work of the legendary punk rocker.

"Our friend and compadre is gone . . . God bless you, Joe," was the simple message posted by Strummer's Clash band mate Mick Jones posted on the Big Audio Dynamite Web site. "The Clash was the greatest rock band," said Bono. "They wrote the rule book for U2 . . . It's such a shock."

Strummer's fellow political rocker Billy Bragg added, "The Clash were the greatest rebel rock band of all time. Their commitment to making political pop culture was the defining mark of the British punk movement. One of the hardest things to do in rock & roll is walk it like you talk it. Joe Strummer epitomized that ideal and I will miss him greatly."

"He was a clear contemporary and we were rivals," said Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rats vocalist and Live Aid organizer. "I believed we had to get inside the pop culture -- he believed you should always stay outside and hurl things at it. He was a very important musician. The Clash will be endlessly influential. They will always be one of the deathless rock bands."

"That heart of his always worked too hard," said Pete Townshend. "I will really miss him."

"Joe and the Clash made music that was emotional and political and challenging and experimental and exciting and wonderful," added Moby. "He wrote some of the most important music of the twentieth century, and his presence here made the world a better place."

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