Tragic Details About The Pogues


At the age of five years old, Shane MacGowan was introduced to the habits that would later turn into devastating, nearly lifelong compulsions and addictions. His Auntie Nora would dole out cigarettes while they watched horse racing and played lottery games together. A chain smoker, she died of a heart attack while getting dressed, unnerving a young MacGowan. “It nearly tore me apart,” he said in “A Drink with Shane MacGowan.” Also when he was five, his parents regularly fed him alcohol. “You soon get used to two bottles of Guinness a night,” he said, adding that he moved on to whiskey by age eight. 

MacGowan’s drinking problem got him fired from The Pogues, a band he started, during a 1991 concert tour. His descent into heroin addiction got him arrested. In 1999, according to the Irish Times, fellow famous musician Sinead O’Connor found MacGowan unconscious and high at his home in London. She called the police on her friend, reporting him for possession, in an effort to get him off hard drugs. While initially upset, he later appreciated O’Connor’s actions. “It ended my relationship with heroin,” MacGowan said.

MacGowan’s misuse of alcohol and other substances directly led to the loss of all of his teeth. His final remaining tooth fell out in 2008, and after wearing dentures for seven years, received a full set of dental implants in 2015.


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