Guitarist Tom Verlaine, who rose to prominence as the frontman of rock band Television in the 1970s New York punk scene, has died at the age of 73.
Television had three UK Top 40 hit singles in their heyday and were praised for their albums Marquee Moon and Adventure.
They had more success in the UK than in the US, however, and split in 1978.
Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of long-time associate and collaborator Patti Smith, announced Verlaine’s death.
He died “after a brief illness,” she said, without elaborating on the cause.
Verlaine was regarded as one of the more skilled musicians to emerge from the now-defunct CBGBs club in New York’s Bowery, alongside Blondie, The Ramones, and Talking Heads.
Despite their prominence as a result of the punk movement, their music was more complex than that of their contemporaries, with Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd trading lengthy solos and intricate jazz-influenced riffs.
Verlaine was born in New Jersey as Thomas Miller, but chose his stage name in honor of the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.
Following the dissolution of Television, he went on to release a string of solo albums, with his song Kingdom Come inspiring a rare cover version by David Bowie on his Scary Monsters album.
Television reformed in 1992, releasing a self-titled third album, and remained sporadic in later years, hailed as a major influence on alternative rock in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at,” Mike Scott of The Waterboys tweeted.
“He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That requires a special kind of greatness.”