How did Keith Levene die? Co founder of the clash and guitarist cause of death explained

Keith Levene

Keith Levene, a pioneering guitarist and founding member of both the Clash and Public Image Ltd, died at the age of 65. Let’s see how did Keith Levene die and the Co-founder of the clash and guitarist, Keith Levene cause of death in detail.

How did Keith Levene die?

Levene died at his home in Norfolk of liver cancer, leaving a long legacy of influence on British rock music. He died on November 11, 2022, at the age of 65 following a long battle with cancer.

After a fight with liver cancer, the pioneering British post-punk musician, Keith Levene passed away. Hammond, Levene’s friend, stated that his friend had been suffering from liver cancer for two years, yet his death was unexpected. Hammond remarked, “He had so many plans, so many things he was doing.” In collaboration with Hammond, Levene had just finished writing a book about Public Image Ltd and had started composing the soundtrack.

As news of his passing spread, musicians praised his impact on the post-punk music scene. Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante is one of his admirers and previously called his playing “spectacular,” adding that he “explored the possibilities of what you can do with the guitar.” Keith Levene cause of death was liver cancer.

Keith Levene cause of death

Keith Levene passed away on November 11, after a two-year battle with cancer. He died from lung cancer at the age of 65. His former bandmates paid tribute to Levene on social media after hearing the tragic news of his passing. Keith Levene cause of death was liver cancer.

While former PiL bassist Jah Wobble remembered Levene’s family, PiL member Martin Atkins praised his “unique talent.”



Martin Atkins shared a tribute, saying,

“A sad time to learn of the passing of guitar giant Keith Levene. We had our ups and downs that had mellowed over time. My respect for his unique talent never will. @pilofficial”

Who is Keith Levene?

Julian Keith Levene was a founder member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd in England. On July 18, 1957, Levene was born in Muswell Hill, London. He became a progressive rock fan at a young age and, at the age of fifteen, worked as a roadie for Yes on their Close to the Edge tour. He joined The Clash and The Flowers of Romance as a founding member in 1976.

Levene asked Joe Strummer, the 101ers’ leader at the time, to join the Clash when he was just 18 years old, along with bassist Paul Simonon and guitarist Mick Jones. Levene was also the band’s manager, working with Bernard Rhodes. Fortunately for the Clash, Strummer was persuaded that punk was the future after seeing the Sex Pistols perform at the Nashville Rooms in London.

Keith Levene’s music career:

Levene stayed with the Clash for a long enough period of time to take part in early performances and contribute to songs, such as What’s My Name on their 1977 first album. He nevertheless developed a distaste for the Clash’s more politicized course and went on to achieve greater success with PiL.

“People thought I was classically trained, which was bollocks,” Levene stated in 2012. Knowing the E chord, I tried out E minor. We laid the music out on a plate for Lydon. He was very hip at the time and did really good work.” he said.

Singer John Lydon (formerly known as Johnny Rotten) and Levene started a new band with bassist John Wardle when the Sex Pistols split up in January 1978. (known as Jah Wobble). In 2012, Wobble remarked, “John made a wise choice getting Keith.”

The iconic song Public Image, which peaked at number ten, came before their debut album, Public Image: First Issue, which peaked at number 22 in 1978. Metal Box, their second album from 1979, is recognized as a post-punk classic. The lineup introduced innovative new styles of post-punk, dub, freeform jazz, and classical music into the Top 20 with the help of numerous drummers.

Although The Flowers Of Romance, released in 1981, was his final recorded piece with PiL, he continued to perform with Wobble in later years. He was referred to be “one of the architects of the post-punk sound” by the website the Quietus in 2021, with his guitar playing “occupying a place between angular abrasion and pop opulence.”

Levene has been collaborating with author Adam Hammond on a book on PiL and had a passion for manufacturing guitars. He died “peacefully, contented, warm and loved,” according to his partner Kate Ransford, who was with him during his dying hours alongside his sister Jill Bennett and her husband. Privacy has been requested by the family.

The death is the second well-known rock musician to pass away in the past 24 hours after Nik Turner’s death news.

Tributes to Keith Levene:

Birmingham 81 tweeted,

RIP Keith Levene. Here he is with Public Image Ltd inventing all the best post-punk guitar sounds in one single song. The full 1979 recording of Chant from Check It Out is at

Eric Alper tweeted,

Keith Levene, the wonderful guitarist who was a founder member of both The Clash and Public Image Ltd, has died at the age of 65. He made both bands two of the most influential groups of all time, and will be greatly missed.

Laura Levine tweeted,

Keith Levene passed away yesterday. Fuck. Here’s a memory of a happier time, a photo I took of #JohnLydon, #JeanetteLee #KeithLevene a few hours before PiL took the stage at The Ritz in 1981, after which mayhem ensued. RIP Keith

John Howie Jr. posted,

If it’s true, then RIP Keith Levene. Hugely influential, I see no Edge, Stuart Adamson etc etc without him. Either way, the combo of that beautiful guitar with John Lydon’s voice is a one-two punch that has rarely been bettered IMHO. Those early PiL records saved my junior high/ high school soul, and Levene was an enormous part of that. Also: the Clash. Thanks for such gorgeous music. HT Brian Rector

John Robb posted,

So sad to hear of Keith Levene dying. Was great to get to know him and sometimes play with him when he got up with the Membranes – he was as innovative and stunning as ever. The guitar genius of post punk.

Martin Atkins posted,

Very sad day today with the news of the passing of Keith Levene. One of the founders of the clash and public image limited. We certainly had huge differences that we had thankfully repaired substantially over the last few years. I’ve been fortunate to work with some giants and my goodness he was at the top of that pile in His own league of innovation. Thanks to everyone that has send pics and messages – esp this from Maureen Baker my heart goes out to his friends and family and to everyone who were amazed and inspired by his playing. I’m spending some time tonight chatting with friends and putting some pics together for tomorrow. Several

Times this last week I had intended to ask him to come jam with me and pete – but I never did and I wish I had.


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