Lou Reed

Just months after surviving a secret liver transplant and declaring himself “a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry,” legendary rocker Lou Reed — the leader of The Velvet Underground, who would later go on to record classic solo albums including Transformer, Berlin and New York — died today at age 71, Rolling Stone magazine reports.

No cause has yet been revealed, but Reed underwent a liver transplant this past spring, an operation that led him to cancel his appearances at the Coachella festival and several other concerts in California.

Only later did his wife, Laurie Anderson, reveal what forced the cancellations, saying Reed’s health had been dire: “It’s as serious as it gets. He was dying. … I don’t think he’ll ever totally recover from this…”

On June 1, Reed posted on Facebook: “I am a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry. I am bigger and stronger than stronger than ever. My Chen Taiji and health regimen has served me well all of these years, thanks to Master Ren Guang-yi. I look forward to being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future.”

Andrew Wylie, Reed’s literary agent, told the New York Times that he believed the musician’s death was related to the liver transplant. Charles Miller, Reed’s transplant doctor, told the newspaper: “He died peacefully, with loved ones around him.”

Reaction to news of Reed’s death spread quickly.

Below, we’ve collected some of Reed’s classics in his memory:


Lou Reed, “Perfect Day”


Lou Reed, “Dirty Blvd.”


Lou Reed, “Satellite of Love”


The Velvet Underground, “I’m Waiting for the Man”

Lou Reed, ‘Metal Machine Music’






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