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Walter Lure, Co-Founder of Punk Pioneers Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, Dies at 71

NEW YORK - MAY 19: Walter Lure of Joey Ramone Birthday Bashers perform at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2007 at Irving Plaza's The Fillmore New York May 19, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)

Walter Lure has died at the age of 71. The guitarist is best known for co-founding the Heartbreakers with New York Dolls‘ Johnny Thunders. Though they only put out one album — 1977’s L.A.M.F. — the New York band is credited for pioneering punk.

Los Angeles music venue Starwood wrote about Lure’s death in a Facebook post. “Walter Lure (April 22, 1949 – August 22, 2020) our dear friend has passed away,” it reads. “Walter was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in July 2020, which spread rapidly and he died from complications related to the cancer at the age of 71, peacefully in the hospital, surrounded by family. He was much loved by all and respected for all he contributed to the world of music.”

Lure left the Heartbreakers shortly after L.A.M.F.‘s release and became a Wall Street stockbroker; however, he continued to play music throughout his life and reunited with the band on several occasions prior to Thunders’ death in 1991 and drummer Jerry Nolan’s death in 1992. Bassist Billy Rath passed away in 2014.

Lure also founded his own band, the Waldos, and released his first album in 24 years, Wacka Lacka Boom Bop A Loom Bam Boo, in 2018. Earlier this year, Lure published his memoir To Hell And Back: My Life In Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, In The Words Of The Last Man Standing.

Members of the punk scene reacted to Lure’s death, and Tim Burgess is honoring “the last of the Heartbreakers” with a special L.A.M.F. listening party on August 25. See reactions below.