Rock legend Lou Reed dies aged 71

Lou Reed has died. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA

Lou Reed has died. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA - Credit: PA

Lou Reed, the punk-poet of rock 'n' roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the 1960s cult band the Velvet Underground and remained a vital solo performer for decades, has died aged 71.

Reed's literary agent Andrew Wylie said the legendary musician died this morning in Southampton at the age of 71 of an ailment related to his recent liver transplant.

Reed never approached the commercial success of such contemporaries as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, but no songwriter to emerge after Dylan so radically expanded the territory of rock lyrics.

No band did more than the Velvet Underground to open rock music to the avant-garde - to experimental theatre, art, literature and film, to William Burroughs and Kurt Weill, to John Cage and Andy Warhol, Reed's early patron and long-time inspiration.

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