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Clash star Joe Strummer dies

Joe Strummer, lead singer for seminal British punk band the Clash, has died at the age of 50.

Strummer, who was the band’s guitarist, vocalist and songwriter alongside Mick Jones, died on Sunday at his farmhouse in Somerset, southwestern England.

A statement released by his record label said Strummer “died peacefully at his home.” It added that his wife Lucy, two daughters and stepdaughter “request privacy at this harrowing time.”

He had been touring with his most recent band The Mescaleros until last month, rounding off a tour in Liverpool.

Hein van der Rey, managing director of Epitaph Records, which had produced two albums for Strummer’s current band, The Mescaleros, said he learned of the death on Monday morning.

“We do not know the circumstances. It is pretty devastating news,” he told The Associated Press, adding that Strummer had been working on a third album with The Mescaleros.

Police said his death was not believed to be suspicious and a post-mortem examination will take place on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police told the Press Association: “We believe police did attend as the death at the farmhouse in Broomfield near Bridgwater was sudden.”

Strummer, born John Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, and the Clash burst onto the British punk scene in the late 1970s on the heels of fellow countrymen and punk rockers The Sex Pistols and are considered by many to be the definitive British punk band.

Often mixing politics with frantic music, the band’s hits included “London Calling,” “Rock the Casbah,” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”

The Clash are scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 10, along with AC/DC, the Police, Elvis Costello and the Attractions and the Righteous Brothers.

Strummer also enjoyed a successful solo career after the Clash broke up in 1985, dabbling in acting and writing music for films.

U2 frontman Bono said: “The Clash was the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2.

“Though I was always too much of a fan to get to know him well, we were due to meet in January to finish our Mandela song with Dave Stewart. It’s such a shock,” he told the Press Association.

Strummer’s family have asked that instead of floral tributes, money is paid to the Mandela SOS fundraising concert, which is aimed at raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

The artist had been due to take part in the show on February 2, from Mandela’s former prison on Robben Island.

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