Tom Verlaine, the frontman and guitarist of the rock band Television, died Saturday in Manhattan following a “brief illness”. He was 73 years old.
Verlaine’s death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of fellow musician Patti Smith.
“Dear Tom. Love is immense and forever,” Paris Smith wrote in an Instagram post. “My heart is too intensely full to share it all now, and finding the words is too deep a struggle.”
Patti Smith and Verlaine had dated when they were “in the emerging New York punk scene”, according to the Guardian.
The two have collaborated on several occasions over the years, including co-authoring a book of poetry called “The Night”, published in 1978.
The punk rocker, born Thomas Miller, adopted his stage name after French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.
Verlaine, a native of New Jersey, formed Television in New York in 1973 with high school classmate Richard Hell after their original group, The Neon Boys, disbanded the same year.
The band released their debut album Marquee Moon in 1977, where Verlaine also got producer credit.
Television broke up in 1978 and went on hiatus until they reunited in 1992. The group has toured occasionally since 2001.
The band recently toured in October 2022 with 80s rock icon Billy Idol in the UK.
Many music industry icons have paid tribute to the punk rock legend.
“It was a time when anything seemed possible,” Patti Smith posted on Instagram in a poetic message with a photo from two of their younger years. “Farewell Tom, top of the Omega.”
“Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. He has immeasurably influenced the way John and I play. Steal on Tom,” tweeted Flea, bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“RIP Tom Verlaine. Along with Patti Smith’s Horses, Marquee Moon is one of, if not THE best, ’70s punk-era New Wave albums,” said band official Simply Red. Twitter tweeted.
“’I’ve lost a hero…. You made me discover a world that turned my life upside down. I am eternally grateful. – Michael Stipe”, the manager REM’s Twitter, tweeted a quote from their lead singer in honor of Verlaine.
“He made incredible music that greatly influenced the American and British punk rock scene in the 70s,” said Billy Idol.