Wilco Johnson, Dr. Feelgood guitarist and ‘Game of Thrones’ actor, dies aged 75

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Wilco Johnson, guitarist for British blues-rock band Dr. Feelgood, has died. He was 75.

A statement Johnson’s official posted on Wednesday Social media accounts The musician died at his home in southeast England on Monday evening, his family said.

“This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and we make it with a very heavy heart on behalf of the Wilco family and the band: Wilco Johnson has passed away,” the Facebook post began.

“He died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Westcliff-on-Sea on Monday evening, November 21, 2022. He was 75.

Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilco Johnson has died. He was 75.
(AP Photo)

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“Thank you for respecting the Wilco family’s privacy during this very sad time, and thank you to everyone for being such an amazing support throughout Wilco’s incredible life. RIP Wilco Johnson,” the statement concluded.

Born John Wilkinson in 1947, Johnson grew up on Canvey Island. He studied Anglo-Saxon literature at Newcastle University and worked as a school teacher before forming Dr Feelgood with other local friends.

In addition to being the lead guitarist in a blues-rock band, Johnson played Ser Eileen Payne on “Game of Thrones.”

In 2012, Johnson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told it was terminal. The prospect of death unexpectedly revived his creative energy. He refused chemotherapy, decided to go on one last tour and recorded a “final” album, “Going Back Home”, with Roger Daltrey of The Who.

Wilco Johnson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012. In 2014, Johnson declared himself cancer-free after undergoing surgery to remove a 3-kilogram (6.6-pound) tumor.
(Joe Hale/Redferns)

“I suddenly found myself in a position where nothing else mattered,” Johnson told The Associated Press in 2013.

“I’m generally a sadist. … I’ll worry about the taxpayer or all the things we worry about. And all of a sudden it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter at all.

“You’re walking down the street and you feel intensely alive. You’re like, ‘Oh, look at that page!’ You look around and you think, ‘I’m alive. Isn’t it amazing?’

In 2014, Johnson announced that he was cancer-free after surgery to remove a 3-kilogram (6.6-pound) tumor. He released another album, “Blow Your Mind,” in 2018 and played gigs with his Wilco Johnson band until last month.

Johnson is survived by his sons Simon and Matthew and grandson Dylan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wilco Johnson, Dr. Feelgood guitarist and ‘Game of Thrones’ actor, dies aged 75

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