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The Telegraph (UK)

Rock star Ian Dury dies at 57
By Tom Leonard, Media Correspondent

IAN DURY, the disabled rock star and lead singer of The Blockheads, died yesterday after a long battle against cancer.

Ian Dury: pictured at the launch of a helpline for people living with cancer
Dury, 57, who recorded a series of hits in the late 1970s including Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll and Reasons To Be Cheerful, died at his home in Hampstead, north London.

Despite being crippled with polio as a child, he was always cheerful and irreverent. His record company said he died "with a smile on his face". Dury leaves four children, two grown-up from his first marriage which ended in 1985, and Billy, four, and Albert, two, from his second marriage to Sophie Tilson, a sculptor.

Miss Tilson and the children were at his bedside when he died. His 28-year-old son, Baxter, said he had died "with all his dignity intact". He had done "everything that he wanted to in his life and he even died how he wanted to. For the last day and a half he could barely speak but he was himself to the very end."

Dury had been suffering from colon cancer since 1995. He spoke about it publicly for the first time three years ago when it spread to his liver and became inoperable. He said recently: "You don't have cancer; it has you". He said he had reservations about using private medicine "because I'm a socialist, but I don't want to go on no waiting list and end up a dead socialist".

Despite his illness, Dury continued to perform in concerts, appear in television advertisements and do charity work for the disabled. In 1998 he travelled with the singer Robbie Williams as Unicef ambassadors into the Sri Lankan war zone to highlight efforts to vaccinate children against polio. Williams was said to be "devastated" by Dury's death.

Suggs, the singer from the pop group Madness and a collaborator with Dury on his last album, described him as one of the finest lyricists ever and one of the greatest performers. He said: "Ian really was the reason Madness started. He was still giving his all right till the end. He will be greatly missed."

Jools Holland, the pianist and television presenter, said: "I was made an honorary Blockhead, which is one of the proudest accolades of my career. He should be posthumously made our Poet Laureate." Annie Nightingale, the former Radio One DJ, described him as "the most cheerful genius I have ever met". Dury started in 1970 with Kilburn and the High Roads. He later had a string of hits with The Blockheads.

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