How did Wilko Johnson die? Dr Feelgood guitarist and 'Game of Thrones' star dead at 75

The punk icon made a place for himself in the audiences' hearts with his distinctive guitar-playing style

How did Wilko Johnson die? Dr Feelgood guitarist and 'Game of Thrones' star dead at 75
Wilko Johnson has died aged 75 (The Jujubes/Twitter and Screenshot from The Advertiser)
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ESSEX, ENGLAND: 'Game of Thrones' star ans Dr Feelgood legend Wilko Johnson has died at the age of 75, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer, his band announced.

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A statement released on the social media handle of the Dr Feelgood guitarist stated that the star died at his home in Essex on Monday evening, November 21. “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died. He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family's privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson,” the statement reads. The musician is survived by his son Simon. Johnson was widowed in 2004 after his wife's death from cancer.

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The punk icon, born John Peter Wilkinson, made a place for himself in the audiences' hearts with his distinctive guitar-playing style and his involvement in the English punk movement. After working as an English teacher, Wilko rose to fame for his stint in the 1970s with Dr Feelgood. He also played for several other bands including Ian Dury and the Blockheads before forming his own group, the Wilko Johnson Band.

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He also ventured into acting and made his on-screen debut as Ser Ilyn Payne in 'Game of Thrones' in 2011. Initially, he appeared as a guest star on the show but his popularity among the viewers, made the makers revive his role for the second season of the HBO series. Filled with excitement and love, Wilko was happily living his life until a storm came into his life in 2013.

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Lee Brilleaux on stage, performing with band 'Dr Feelgood', with guitarist Wilko Johnson in the background, Hammersmith Apollo, London, October 1976. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Lee Brilleaux on stage, performing with band 'Dr Feelgood', with guitarist Wilko Johnson in the background, Hammersmith Apollo, London, October 1976. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 2013, the punk icon revealed he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. But the musician vowed to honor his touring commitments and elected not to receive chemotherapy. "He said he wants to make the very best of the time he has left, playing and partying when he can. He is currently in good spirits and is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity. Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career," his manager said at that time. 

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Following his diagnosis, Johnson flew to Japan and started working on his tours. But in 2014, he had to rethink his decision and underwent an operation in April to get parts of his small and large intestine removed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. That same year, he released a chartbuster album titled 'Going Back Home', a collaboration with the Who’s Roger Daltrey. After his treatement and up until his death, the legendary punk guitarist continued to perform live – with gigs around the UK earlier this year.

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