Shane MacGowan’s wife Victoria shares touching memory of Pogues frontman’s final days

Shane MacGowan was “vibrant and beautiful” and “determined to live” only a few days before his death aged 65, his wife has said.

The Pogues frontman died at 3am on Thursday 30 November, just weeks before he turned 66 on Christmas Day.

His longtime partner, Irish journalist and author Victoria Mary Clarke, shared the news in a moving tribute, and has continued to post photos and memories of the irrepressible musician.

“It’s so hard to believe that someone could be so vibrant and beautiful and so determined to live only a few days ago,” she wrote on Monday 4 December.

“But so many people are losing loved ones all over the world. My prayers are for all of you guys as Shane’s would be.”

In a follow-up post, she added: “Shane was always able to smile right until the last and his smile had a way of lighting up everyone around him no matter how much he was struggling or in pain.

“I hope this smile can still work its magic.”

MacGowan was diagnosed with encephalitis last year, he revealed in a video post to social media on New Year’s Eve. He was discharged from St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin a few days before his death.

Clarke said he died of pneumonia, according to the New York Times.

She and MacGowan were married in an intimate ceremony at Copenhagen City Hall in 2018, surrounded by their loved ones including MacGowan’s longtime friend Johnny Depp. The couple celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on 26 November.

Clarke is currently supporting a campaign to get The Pogues’ most famous song, “Fairytale of New York”, to the No 1 spot at Christmas.

‘I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays... nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second thought’
‘I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays... nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second thought’

Despite being one of the most popular festive songs of all time, “Fairytale of New York” has never reached the top spot in the UK charts. It peaked at No 2 upon its release in 1987.

Tributes have continued to pour in for MacGowan, from artists including Bruce Springsteen, Paul Weller, Tom Waits and U2.

Former Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (PA) (PA Wire)
Former Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan (PA) (PA Wire)

“Over here on E Street, we are heartbroken over the death of Shane MacGowan,” Springsteen said in a statement posted to his website last week.

“Shane was one of my all-time favorite writers. The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon. I was fortunate to spend a little time with Shane and his lovely wife Victoria the last time we were in Dublin.

“He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit. His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”

MacGowan’s funeral is reportedly taking place this Friday (8 December).