Obits — April 6, 2023 at 6:31 pm

Nora Forster — wife of John Lydon, mother of The Slits’ Ari Up — has died at age 80

Nora Forster and John Lyon | via PiL on Facebook

Nora Forster, a music promoter and mother of the late Slits frontwoman Ari Up who married John Lydon in 1979 following the implosion of the Sex Pistols, has died after living with Alzheimer’s disease for the past several years, Lydon’s team announced today. She was 80.

Lydon, currently fronting the reunited Public Image Ltd., had served as Forster’s full-time caretaker when not on tour, and has spoken publicly about the pain of watching his wife of more than four decades slowly fade away.

The following statement was issued today by Lydon and PiL’s representatives:

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that Nora Forster — John Lydon’s wife of nearly 5 decades — has passed away. Nora had been living with Alzheimer’s for several years. In which time John had become her full time carer. Please respect John’s grief and allow him space.”

Earlier this year, PiL released a moving new song called “Hawaii” that Lydon wrote for Forster, and submitted it for consideration as Ireland’s entry in the 67th annual Eurovision Song Contest. PiL performed the song on Irish television, with Lydon calling it “a love song to my wife,” adding, “A few years in the making is ‘Hawaii.’ We had a wonderful holiday there once, me and Nora.”

The track was not selected by voters as Ireland’s Eurovision entry.

Born in Germany, Forster moved to London with her daughter Ari, from her first marriage, in the late 1960s, and got involved in the city’s music scene over the next decade. She promoted music events in London, meeting Lydon in 1975 at Vivienne Westwood’s Sex shop, and supported her daughter’s band The Slits.

Forster and Lydon married in 1979 and later moved to the U.S. They became legal guardians to Up’s twin boys in 2000 and, later, her third son as well. Up died at the age of 48 in 2010.

In 2018, Forster was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Below, watch PiL’s recent performance of “Hawaii” on Irish TV.







  1. thomas solimine

    Johnny rotten isn’t so rotten. He is actually a really good man.

  2. Delta Mode

    Hawai is a really moving song.
    RIP Nora

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