Photo Credit: Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage
Whether you considered him a punk, a poet or a straight-up rock-and-roller, Lou Reed was one of the most influential and respected musicians of the past century. On Sunday, Velvet Underground fans were stunned to learn that the legendary frontman had passed away at the age of 71. Reed, who had a liver transplant in May, reportedly died of liver disease. He had recently cancelled several appearances, but kept quiet about the severity of his illness.
In the later years of his life, Reed was influential in the cultural scene of New York City, where he lived with his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson. Of course, it's the earlier years we remember the best. Reed first gained notoriety as part of the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground, whose popularity has grown exponentially since they broke up in 1973. Reed left the band in 1970 and embarked on a solo career, releasing classic songs like "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day." Throughout his career, Reed pushed the boundaries of rock music, experimenting with unconventional vocal styles, challenging lyrics, and the use of non-musical sounds like guitar feedback.
The singer-songwriter is widely considered a pioneer, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a musician, artist or rebel who wasn't influenced by his work. Here is what other rock stars and celebrities are tweeting in the wake of Reed's unexpected death.
Lou Reed RIP - always inspired by him - terrible news - only knew him through his art -a great - a singular poet -— John Cusack (@johncusack) October 27, 2013
Just a perfect day you made me forget myself I thought I was someone else, someone good #RIP LOU REED— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) October 27, 2013
RIP TO A GREAT FRIEND A FELLOW MUSICIAN. FROM MAXES TO THE MASSES YOU MADE THE WORLD SING. I LOVE YOU LOU! #LouReed— Steven Tyler (@IamStevenT) October 27, 2013
Its hard to celebrate your birthday when Lou Reed sadly passes! what an awfully sad day!— Kelly Osbourne (@KellyOsbourne) October 27, 2013
"Where was I when I heard Lou Reed died? A pumpkin patch in Moorpark. A pumpkin patch. In Moorpark." -- me, to my grandchildren— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 27, 2013
I met Lou Reed and told him he gave me tinnitus at a concert in 1989 that never went away and it was worth it. Dirty Blvd. Love to Lou.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 27, 2013
Very sad to hear the news of Lou Reed's passing. Another rocknroll legend has left us mere mortals behind. Thanks for the inspiration, Lou.— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) October 27, 2013
Rest in peace, Lou Reed. Your musical influence will never be forgotten.— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) October 27, 2013
The great & amazing Lou Reed has died my condolences 2 his wife Laurie Anderson.Lou was1of a kind & this colored girl still says dededede...— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) October 27, 2013
noooooooooo notttttttttt LOU REED— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) October 27, 2013
My friend Lou Reed came to the end of his song. So very sad.But hey, Lou, you'll always take a walk on the wild side. Always a perfect day.— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) October 27, 2013