Lou Reed

Rock legend Lou Reed has passed away on Long Island aged 71.

Reed is reported to have died on Sunday morning, and while the cause of death has not yet been released some news outlets are speculating that Reed suffered complications from a liver transplant he underwent in May.

Reed’s Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale said, “The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet. I’ve lost my ‘school-yard buddy,” while David Bowie said: “He was a master.” Billy Idol tweeted: "U were my inspiration in the '70's, 4 without you there would have been no punk rock.” The Who tweeted: "RIP Lou Reed. Walk on the peaceful side." Iggy Pop called it "devastating news".

And many would agree: Brian Eno once said that the Velvet Underground’s debut album only sold 30,000 copies, but that every one of those fans went on to form a band.

Reed was born Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed in Brooklyn in 1942, and by his early ‘20s was melding together two great loves - poetry and rock & roll - as a staff songwriter for novelty label Pickwick Records before forming the band that would eventually become The Velvet Underground.

VU were adopted by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol, and their debut The Velvet Underground & Nico is a virtual audio verite document of the dark side of New York’s creative scene. Reed’s discography is full of daring works that push against the mainstream: 1975’s Metal Machine Music was a forerunner of industrial rock and sound art, and Reed’s final album was Lulu, his collaboration with Metallica.