Shane MacGowan has died at the age of 65.
The sad news was announced by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, who shared a post on Instagram.
She said: "I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese.
"I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him and to have had so many years of life and love and joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.
"There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world."
While the song has never actually been crowned as a UK Christmas Number One, it has reached the UK Top 20 numerous times – and has done so every year since 2005.
MacGowan himself was born on Christmas Day in 1957, so it seems fitting the song has such festive popularity.
In fact, in 2012 it was voted the Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song in an ITV special.
And in December 2022, ‘Fairytale of New York was certified quintuple platinum in the UK with a humongous three million combined sales.
MacGowan once told The Irish Times he’d never expected the song to be so successful: “You could have knocked me down with a feather. It was a challenge Elvis Costello set us and it ended up being our greatest hit.”
On 14 November, the singer’s wife shared to X that his old The Pogues bandmates Spider Stacy and Terry Woods had been to visit him in hospital.
She wrote: “I just wanted to say a massive thanks to everyone who has been messaging me and @ShaneMacGowan and thank you @spiderstacy and Terry Woods for coming to visit him.
“Love and prayers for everyone who is struggling right now, hang in there!”
In an image attached by Victoria, MacGowan smiled as he was hooked up with a high-flow nasal cannula, which helps with breathing.
The legendary musician was reportedly hospitalised in Christmas 2022 with the life-threatening brain condition encephalitis.
This can cause difficulty speaking, weakness or loss of movement in some parts of the body and loss of consciousness.
Clarke told the Irish Mirror in 2022 that the singer was ‘a bit frustrated’ about being in hospital.
She explained: “He finds it very frustrating… he wants to get out.”
While MacGowan was in hospital this year, his wife wrote to Instagram: “Stay tuned in to love no matter what is happening in your world and keep inviting all of your angels and guides to support you and know that love is always the best choice.”Featured Image Credit: Tristan Fewings/Getty Dav M Bennett/Getty