Very sad news: Gang of Four founding guitarist Andy Gill has died after a "short respiratory illness." He was 64.  News came via Gang of Four's Facebook:

This is so hard for us to write, but our great friend and Supreme Leader has died today.

Andy’s final tour in November was the only way he was ever really going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row.

His uncompromising artistic vision and commitment to the cause meant that he was still listening to mixes for the upcoming record, whilst planning the next tour from his hospital bed.

But to us, he was our friend - and we’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of Darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too.

One of the best to ever do it, his influence on guitar music and the creative process was inspiring for us, as well as everyone who worked alongside him and listened to his music. And his albums and production work speak for themselves. Go give ‘em a spin for him...

Love you mate.

John, Thomas and Tobias

The surviving members of the original Gang of Four lineup -- Jon King, Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen (none of whom were in the current lineup) -- also released a statement, saying, "As the founder members of Gang of Four some 40-odd years ago, we fondly remember the good times when the four of us wanted to change the world. Andy was our brother. We made a lot of great noise and art together. We had a few drinks. We traveled the world and made friends. We made people dance, and think, an dlaugh, and love. We laughed together. A lot. Our hearts go out to his wife, Catherine and his brother, Martin."

It's was less than a year ago when Gill was hospitalized in NYC for a respiratory infection.

The tension-filled guitar style Andy created with Gang of Four has been endlessly influential and can be heard in popular music today still. Rest in peace, Andy.

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