Wilko Johnson, Dr. Feelgood Guitarist and Game of Thrones Actor, Dead at 75

Wilko Johnson. Photo: Jordi Vidal/Redferns

Wilko Johnson, the musician best known for his work in the English pub band Dr. Feelgood, died at 75. “This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died,” Wilko Johnson’s Twitter account posted November 23. “He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.” Dr. Feelgood began in 1971 and was known for Johnson’s guitar-playing abilities and Lee Brilleaux’s work as the lead singer. Johnson was born in 1947 as John Wilkinson, later inverting his given name to become his stage name.

Dr. Feelgood formed around Canvey Island, England, where Johnson was raised, and became known in the mid-’70s largely for their live performing abilities and R&B-influenced rocking, powered by Johnson’s work as the guitarist. Although he stayed on for three albums (Down by the Jetty, Malpractice, and Sneakin’ Suspicion), Johnson left Dr. Feelgood in 1977. Johnson then formed the band the Solid Senders and later joined the Blockheads. Johnson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2013 and initially refused treatment. He ultimately got a six-pound tumor removed and was pronounced cancer free in 2014, according to BBC News.

In later years, Johnson became known for playing the mute knight Ser Ilyn Payne in Game of Thrones. He began on the series in season one, and the last mention of his character occurred in season four.

An earlier version of this article mistakenly included a photo of bass guitarist Norman Watt-Roy.

Wilko Johnson, Dr. Feelgood Guitarist, Dead at 75