Wilko Johnson, an English guitarist and singer for the band Dr. Feelgood, died on November 21. He also played the executioner Ser Ilyn Payne on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” He was 75 years old. According to a statement posted on his official social media accounts on November 23, he died at home on November 21.

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The statement read, “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, and we do so, on behalf of Wilko’s family and the band, with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Westcliff On Sea on Monday evening, 21st November 2022. He was 75. Thank you for respecting Wilko’s family’s privacy at this very sad time, and thank you all for having been such a tremendous support throughout Wilko’s incredible life. RIP Wilko Johnson.”

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Who was Wilko Johnson?

Johnson was born John Peter Wilkinson in 1947 in Canvey Island, Essex. He began playing guitar as a teenager, but his career took off when he formed Dr. Feelgood with singer Lee Brilleaux, bassist John B Sparks, and drummer John Martin in 1971.

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Johnson quickly became known for his distinctive style of guitar playing, which used fingerpicking to play riffs or solos while playing rhythm, as well as his flamboyant performances, which often featured him raising his guitar to his shoulders like a gun.

Dr. Feelgood’s intense, brutal take on R&B influenced the British punk music that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Johnson stayed with Dr. Feelgood for their first four albums, the latter three of which charted in the top 20 of the UK albums chart, before leaving due to inter-band conflict.

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Johnson left Dr. Feelgood to form Solid Senders, who released one album on Virgin in 1978, and briefly joined Ian Dury’s band the Blockheads, appearing on their 1980 album Laughter.

Soon after, he began to concentrate on his longest-running musical project, the Wilko Johnson Band, with whom he would go on to release seven albums over the next three decades, including the 1981 debut Ice on the Motorway, 1988’s Barbed Wire Blues, and, most recently, 2018’s Blow Your Mind.

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Outside of music, Johnson published one book, Looking Back at Me, co-written with Zo Howe in 2012. Johnson’s only TV appearance was as Payne in Seasons 1 and 2 of “Game of Thrones.” Payn, also known as the King’s Justice, was the royal executioner who was tasked with assassinating the beloved Eddard “Ned” Stark (Sean Bean) near the end of Season 1. During the Mad King’s reign, he had his tongue amputated, making him the ideal silent killer.

He was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in 2013, declined chemotherapy, and was given 10 months to live. His “Game of Thrones” role was then cut, and in 2014, he went on a farewell tour and recorded a final album with The Who’s lead singer, Roger Daltrey. He was declared cancer-free later that year after undergoing surgery.