The loving family behind Shane MacGowan: The Pogues’ frontman – who lost his mother to a horrific New Year’s Day car crash in 2017 – owed his career to his relatives, including his ‘muse’ wife, loving sister and the ‘hero’ uncle who inspired him
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Shane MacGowan died surrounded by those who had loved and supported him throughout his life. 

The Pogues frontman died ‘peacefully’ this morning with his music journalist wife Victoria Mary Clarke and family by his side.

In an emotional post on social media, his sister Siobhan quoted lyrics from the Irish band’s song The Broad Majestic Shannon alongside a picture of herself with her sibling. 

She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, with a heart emoji: ‘So I walked as day was dawning;as small birds sang and leaves were falling, where we once watched the row boats landing on the Broad Majestic Shannon’.

The Fairytale of New York singer’s death was announced today at the age of 65 following an eight year health battle. 

Shane MacGowan with his mother Therese and father Maurice MacGowan at their family home in Ireland, 1997

Shane MacGowan with his mother Therese and father Maurice MacGowan at their family home in Ireland, 1997

Shane with his author sister Siobhan who paid an emotional tribute on social media following her brother's death

Shane with his author sister Siobhan who paid an emotional tribute on social media following her brother’s death

MacGowan is survived by his wife, his sister, his father Maurice, family and a large circle of friends.

He once told of how he owed ‘my career entirely to my family and to the way I was brought up’. 

‘I am very grateful to them and to Christ and His Holy Mother and all the saints. And, of course, I am grateful to Victoria, my muse. Without whom I might well be dead by now,’ he told The Guardian in 2013.  

MacGowan was born in 1957 when his mother Therese went into labour unexpectedly while they were visiting his father’s sister in Kent. 

He arrived on Christmas Day in Pembury maternity hospital, Tunbridge Wells, and spent the first few weeks of his life sleeping in a drawer in his auntie’s bedroom. 

Therese was a singer and passed on her passion for music to her son and Maurice, from Dublin, a great reader. But it was Uncle John that was MacGowan’s biggest hero described as ‘a Zen master in the art of cursing. The rest of the time, he remained completely and absolutely silent.’

His parents passion for literature and music saw MacGowan give his first performance at the age of three on top of the family’s kitchen table which ‘went down very well’. 

At the age of five his sister Siobhan was born but the siblings weren’t always as close as they were in their adulthood with MacGowan calling her ‘it’ having been full of jealousy. 

He told The Guardian in 2013: ‘I was jealous as hell because she got all the attention and I wanted it. I called her “it” for most of her childhood. But I think that is a natural thing for kids. We get on very well now: I can’t imagine a better sister.’ 

MacGowan and Siobhan grew up on a farm in Tipperary, Ireland, with his parents away working most of the time in England. 

He and his sister were the ones sat huddled together round a transistor radio at the farmhouse in December 1987 when Fairytale of New York reached number two in the UK. 

While MacGowan would forever be remembered for that Christmas hit, Siobhan turned to writing and went on to have a successful career as an author and songwriter.

Shane with his father Maurice, mother Therese and sister Siobhan celebrate his 40th birthday with a cake before he appeared on the Late Late Show in 1997

Shane with his father Maurice, mother Therese and sister Siobhan celebrate his 40th birthday with a cake before he appeared on the Late Late Show in 1997

Pogues singer MacGowan first met Clarke when she was just 16 years old and he was 24, but it would be another four years before they began dating

Pogues singer MacGowan first met Clarke when she was just 16 years old and he was 24, but it would be another four years before they began dating

It was a long courtship for the couple who didn't get engaged until 2007 and were not married for another 11 years

It was a long courtship for the couple who didn’t get engaged until 2007 and were not married for another 11 years

Going home: Shane (centre) returned home after being released from hospital amid a battle with a brain condition, with his wife Victoria sharing a photo of him in his hospital bed

Going home: Shane (centre) returned home after being released from hospital amid a battle with a brain condition, with his wife Victoria sharing a photo of him in his hospital bed 

Victoria has written several books, including a biography about her husband that they co-wrote together entitled A Drink With Shane MacGowan. Pictured: the couple share a kiss

Victoria has written several books, including a biography about her husband that they co-wrote together entitled A Drink With Shane MacGowan. Pictured: the couple share a kiss

She told Business Post of how the home was full of books when she was growing up. Maurice loved Irish writers and Greek plays, while Therese would be drawn to the classics by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and William Thackeray. 

In their youth, on long car journeys to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Dublin she and Shane would bury themselves under a blanket and write. 

Siobhan did dabble in music and had her own band called The Frantic with gigs around Dublin in the 1980s and 1990s but she was ‘never completely comfortable with life as a performing artist’. 

The family would be struck by tragedy in 2017 when Therese was killed in a New Year’s Day crash

The 87-year-old died when her car hit a wall at Ballintogher, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

Mrs MacGowan was the driver and there were no passengers when the car crashed near her home in Silvermines.





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