Wife of former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Lydon dies aged 80 | UK News

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Nora Forster, the wife of former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, has died aged 80 after living with Alzheimer’s disease in recent years. 

The 67-year-old singer, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, was his wife’s full-time carer after her diagnosis.

He recently attempted to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision with a song dedicated to Ms Forster with his band Public Image Ltd (PiL).

John Lydon
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John Lydon made a bid to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2023 with a song inspired by his late wife

In a statement posted on Lydon’s Twitter, he said: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that Nora Forster – John Lydon‘s wife of nearly five decades – has passed away.

“Nora had been living with Alzheimer’s for several years. In which time John had become her full-time carer.

“Please respect John’s grief and allow him space.

“Rest in Peace Nora. Heartfelt condolences to John from Rambo and all at PiL Official.”

The couple first met in 1975 at the late artist Malcolm McLaren’s clothing shop that he owned with Vivienne Westwood in London.

Lydon and Ms Forster, the daughter of wealthy German publisher Franz Karl Maier, were together for 45 years.

She was also the mother of the late musician Ari-Up, best known as a member of the English punk rock band the Slits, who died in 2010 after a “serious illness”.

Lydon’s Eurovision bid song was named Hawaii in a tribute to a holiday they took together.

File photo dated 1/7/2008 of John Lydon with wife Nora Forster kiss during the screening of the film 'Sex Pistols Live From Brixton Academy' at The Screen on The Green, Islington, north London. Nora has died aged 80 after living with Alzheimer's disease for several years. The 67-year-old former Sex Pistols frontman, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, was his wife's full-time carer following the diagnosis and raised awareness of the condition through his recent attempt to represent Irela
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John Lydon with wife Nora Forster in 2008

“As I say in the song, old journeys end and some begin again, but this is the beginning of a new journey with us,” he said during his Eurovision campaign.

“And, oddly enough, as bad as Alzheimer’s is, there are great moments of tenderness between us. And I tried to capture that in the song, and so it’s not all waiting for the Grim Reaper.

“I can see her personality in her eyes, she lets me know that it’s the communication skills that are letting her down.

John Lydon (second right) with his PiL bandmates in Dublin
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John Lydon (second right) with his PiL bandmates in Dublin

“And I’m just blessed really that I can be there and catch on to that and maybe share that information as this progresses, as we know it will, to its ultimate sad demise.

“Pass something useful on to other people. It’s a subject now that I’m so firmly tied up and wrapped up and connected to that I care now for all of its victims. Particularly to spouses that have to endure this.”

In the UK, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is the name for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain function.

The condition can affect memory, thinking skills and other cognitive functions, according to the NHS.

John Lydon performs at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, in 2010
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John Lydon performing at Coachella in 2010

The chief executive at Dementia UK, Hilda Hayo, offered her condolences to Lydon and his family.

“John has raised a huge amount of awareness around the impact that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can have through his work in recent months. Through sharing his personal experience, he will no doubt have helped others seek the support they need,” she said.

“The death of someone close is one of the most difficult experiences many of us will ever face, and we hope he receives the support he needs while he is grieving.

“We urge families affected by dementia to reach out to our specialist helpline.”

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