Velvet Underground legend Lou Reed dies at age of 71

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.

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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.”