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New York Dolls band member Sylvain Sylvain, real name Sylvain Mizrahi, has died aged 69-years-old after losing his battle with cancer. His wife Wanda O’Kelley Mizrahi, confirmed he had been suffering with the illness for two and a half years and “fought it valiantly” before passing away on Wednesday.
In an emotional statement on Facebook, she wrote: “As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years.
“Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain.”
The statement concluded with a touching tribute to his career.
“Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let’s send this beautiful doll on his way.”
The musician contributed bass, piano and songwriting to the groundbreaking band’s first two albums New York Dolls and 1974’s Too Much Too Soon, which helped land the band at a landmark spot in history, with their self-titled 1973 debut on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
He was formerly a member of the band Actress alongside Arthur Kane, Johnny Thunders and Billy Murcia before co-founding New York Dolls in 1971.
In 2018, Sylvain recalled the band’s struggles when they first started out, noting that their earlier songs were the ones that made them “superstars”.
“It took us forever to get a record deal, to get into the business,” he told The Quietus in 2018.
“But our songs were hits. The kids knew ‘Personality Crisis’, they knew ‘Trash’, they knew all those songs way before we even released them.
“They made us superstars.”
While members came and went over the years, Sylvain and vocalist David Johansen wreathe only two originals left until its dissolution in 1977.
Fellow guitarist and friend Lenny Kaye said of his passion for music and his death: “His [Sylvain] role in the band was as lynchpin, keeping the revolving satellites of his bandmates in precision.
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“Though he tried valiantly to keep the band going, in the end the Dolls’ moral fable overwhelmed them, not before seeding an influence that would engender many rock generations yet to come.”
Following the news of his death, fans rushed to share their condolences with his family and speak of some fond memories of his music.
One wrote on Twitter: “Sorry man…rockin’ in heaven!!”
Another added: “So sad & so sorry brother such a loss.”
“We lost a legend today. R.I.P. Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi. You will be greatly missed,” said a third.
A fourth remembered: “I used to have pictures of him on my fridge. RIP.”
He is survived by his wife, Wanda.
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