The legendary New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain has died at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer. 

The news was announced via a statement on Sylvain’s Facebook page: “As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years. Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let’s send this beautiful doll on his way”

Born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt in 1951, his family fled first to France before settling in New York in the early 1950’s.

Alongside future New York Dolls drummer Billy Murcia he ran a clothing company called ‘Truth and Soul’, before he joined New York Dolls in 1971.

Sylvain played on their two seminal albums, New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon. Although neither were particular commercial successes, the abrasive and dirty punk qualities of the sound and style made them into cult rock records.

In the early 1970’s, they were, alongside the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, one of the first progenitors of the early punk rock scene.

The band broke up in 1976 and, after a lengthy hiatus, returned in 2004 with three further studio albums, culminating with Dancing Backwards in High Heels a decade ago. They split for a final time that same year in 2011.

New York Dolls saw an inconsistent cast of members over the years but the two ever-presents were Sylvain and vocalist David Johansen.

Away from New York Dolls, Sylvain also released several records as a solo artist and working with other bands such as The Teardrops, Roman Sandals, She Wolves, and Batusis.

Sylvain had been living in Nashville since 2015. He first revealed in April 2019 that he had been battling cancer for a year.

Check out ‘Personality Crisis’ by New York Dolls:

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