Tom Verlaine, founding member of the influential New York punk band Television, has died at age 73.
Verlaine suffered "a brief illness" before he died "peacefully" in New York City on Saturday while surrounded by close friends, according to a statement obtained by CNN from Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Verlaine's former partner, Patti Smith.
Verlaine formed Television in the 1970s with bandmates Richard Hell, Billy Ficca, and Richard Lloyd, according to Billboard, which noted that the band rose to prominence after securing a residency at the iconic Lower East Side club.
Verlaine brought his signature songwriting and guitar style to two of the band's albums: 1977's "Marquee Moon" and 1978's "Adventure." Television disbanded in 1978, and while their time together was brief, the band played a role in developing and influencing the local punk rock scene.
Tributes have been flooding social media since news of Verlaine's death broke.
"I have lost a hero," wrote R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe in a statement shared on Instagram. "Bless you Tom Verlaine and thank you for the songs, the lyrics, the voice! And later the laughs, the inspiration, the stories, and the rigorous belief that music and art can alter and change matter, lives, experience. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful."
Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein recalled first meeting Verlaine in the early 1970s.
"I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess '72," Stein tweeted. "He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he'd written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don't remember.”
Flea, bass player of the Red Hot Chili Peppers also took to social media to share his memories.
"Listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times. And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in," Flea tweeted. "Awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever."
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