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Wilko Johnson, British rocker who defied cancer, dies at 75

Britain Obit Wilko Johnson
Posted at 8:21 AM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 11:21:10-05

LONDON (AP) — Wilko Johnson, the guitarist with British blues-rock band Dr. Feelgood who had an unexpected career renaissance after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died. He was 75.

Johnson's family says the musician died Monday evening at his home in southeast England.

"This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died," his family said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "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."

Johnson formed Dr. Feelgood with friends in the early 1970s.

The anarchic R&B band helped inspire the punk explosion, but Johnson quit in 1977.

Later in life, he was cast as silent executioner Ser Ilyn Payne on HBO's “Game of Thrones.”

In 2012, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told it was terminal.

He went on a farewell tour and recorded what was intended as a final album.

After surgery in 2014, he was declared cancer-free.

He released another album in 2018 and toured with his band until last month.

The rocker leaves behind his sons Simon and Matthew and grandson Dylan.