Lou Reed: Legendary Singer Dies Aged 71
British musicians David Bowie and John Cale have paid tribute to legendary singer and songwriter Lou Reed, who died aged 71.
The punk poet died of a liver-related ailment in New York state on Sunday morning, his literary agent Andrew Wylie said. He had a liver transplant in May this year.
Bowie posted a picture of himself together with Reed on his website with the words: "David Bowie said of his old friend: 'He was a master'."
Welsh musician John Cale, who co-founded The Velvet Underground with Reed in 1965 after moving to New York, wrote on his Facebook page: "The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet ... I've lost my 'school-yard buddy'."
Also paying tribute to the singer was fellow punk Iggy Pop, who wrote on his Twitter page: "Devastating news."
At the time of his death, Reed was living in Southampton, New York state, with his wife Laurie Anderson, who he married in 2008.
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed was born in Brooklyn in 1942 and rose to fame as the frontman of The Velvet Underground in the late 1960s.
He moved to England to be a solo artist in the 1970s and worked with David Bowie among others.
It was during this time he produced his biggest hits, including Walk On The Wild Side and Satellite Of Love.
Another song - Perfect Day - was covered by a host of stars for a charity single.
In a tribute to the singer, Rolling Stone magazine said he "fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry".
During his career as a solo artist, from the 1970s into the 2010s, he was "chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable", it said.
"Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. 'One chord is fine,' he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. 'Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz.'"
Reed met Welsh musician John Cale in the 1960s and they formed a band called The Primitives.
After meeting guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, the band went through more incarnations before becoming The Velvet Underground.
They caught the attention of artist Andy Warhol's who incorporated them into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
"Andy would show his movies on us," Reed once said. "We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway."
Reed's trademarks were a monotone of surprising emotional range and power - slashing, grinding guitar and lyrics that were complex, yet conversational.
Known for his cold stare and gaunt features, he was a cynic who seemed to embody downtown Manhattan culture and was as essential a New York artist as Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen.
He had one Top 20 hit, Walk On the Wild Side, and many other songs that became standards among his admirers, from Heroin and Sweet Jane to Pale Blue Eyes and All Tomorrow's Parties.
An outlaw in his early years, Reed eventually performed at the White House, had his writing published in The New Yorker and won a Grammy in 1999 for Best Long Form Music Video.
Although one of rock's archetypal tough guys, he grew up in the middle class - an accountant's son raised on Long Island.
He hated school, loved rock 'n' roll, fought with his parents and attacked them in song for forcing him to undergo electroshock therapy as a supposed "cure" for being bisexual.
"Families that live out in the suburbs often make each other cry," he later wrote.