Wilko Johnson, a singer and guitarist known for his work with the band Dr. Feelgood, as well as a memorable performance as the mute executioner Ser Ilyn Payne on HBO’s Game of Thrones, passed away at the age of 75. The news was broken in an official statement from Johnson’s Twitter account, which revealed that he had passed away at his home on Monday, November 21. The cause of death is unknown at this time. Johnson was previously diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in 2013 and was eventually cancer-free in 2014 after undergoing a procedure that removed, in his words “his pancreas, spleen, part of his stomach, small and large intestine and the removal and reconstruction of blood vessels related to the liver.”
“This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and it is with a heavy heart that Wilko Johnson has passed away,” Johnson’s official Twitter account reads. “He passed away at home on Monday, November 21. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.”
This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and it is with a heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has passed away. He passed away at home on Monday, November 21. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.
(Image: Leif Laaksonen) pic.twitter.com/1cRqyi9b9X
— Wilko Johnson (@wilkojohnson) November 23, 2022
Born on July 12, 1947 in Canvey Island, England, Johnson, along with Lee Brilleaux and John B. Sparks, formed the British band Dr. Feel-good. The band achieved cult status and their album “Stupidity” eventually reached No. 1 on the UK album chart. Johnson left the band in 1977 and later played with the Wilko Johnson Band until his death.
Outside of music, Johnson’s only acting role was as Ser Ilyn Payne, also known as “the King’s Justice” in the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. His character was assigned to kill Ned Stark in one of the show’s first shocking plot twists.
“They said they wanted someone who was really sinister and watched people with daggers before they killed them,” Wilko said in a 2011 interview. “That made it easy. Looking at people with a dagger is what I do all the time, it’s like second nature to me… On the first day I had to look angry at this girl. The American director came to me and said, ‘Wilko, you don’t have to be scary. You’re scary.'”
Johnson is survived by two sons, Matthew and Simon.
Our thoughts are with Johnson’s family, friends and fans at this time.
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