Velvet Underground legend Lou Reed dies at age of 71

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Rock and roll pioneer and former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed has died at the age of 71.

The influential US musician and songwriter died of a liver-related ailment yesterday at his home in Southampton, New York, his agent confirmed last night.

Reed had a liver transplant in May after a long history of drinking and drug use.

His wife Laurie Anderson said at the time: “It’s as serious as it gets. He was dying.”

As he recovered in June, he wrote online that he was a “triumph of modern medicine” and “bigger and stronger than ever”.

The Brooklyn-born musician revolutionised rock in the 1960s and 70s with the Velvet Underground.

Fusing music and art, they were deeply rooted in pop artist Andy Warhol’s Factory scene and gained a significant cult following.

After leaving the band in 1970, Reed enjoyed a successful solo career that saw him pen some of his best-known hits, including Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day.

The music world was in mourning last night. Among those paying tribute was singer Marianne Faithfull, who said: “He was a great friend, musician, songwriter and band leader. One of the most intelligent musicians I’ve ever known and a great guitarist. His songs will live forever.”