Mick Rock, ’70s music icon, dies at 72

Mick Rock, ’70s music icon, dies at 72

London Photographer Mick Rock, who saw him in his iconic portraits of rock stars including David Bowie, Lou Reed and Debbie Harry dubbed “The Man Who Shot the ’70s”, has passed away. He was 72 years old.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share beloved drugged rebel Mick Rock on Jungian’s journey to the other side,” a statement posted on Rock’s official social media accounts read Friday. No cause of death was given.

Born in London in 1948, Rock attended Cambridge University, where he met Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd, who became one of his early patrons.

He was the official photographer for Bowie in the early ’70s, which helped make the alter-ego of singer and androgynous space star Ziggy Stardust a sensation.

The rocker went on to capture some of the era’s most famous music photos: Iggy Pop topless on the cover of “Raw Power”; Spectrum Lou Reed on “Transformer”; The Queen members, their faces partially shaded, on the cover of “The Second Queen.”


“People say, man, how did you get all these pictures? Well, because no one else cared,” Rock told The Associated Press in 2002. “It wasn’t like I was fighting other photographers to get the pictures.”

Rock underwent heart surgery and a kidney transplant in the 1990s after years of rock ‘n’ roll excess.

He later said, “I’ve lived life.” “In addition to taking pictures, I lived life.”

He gave up cigarettes and drugs and continued to work, taking photos of musicians including Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

The statement announcing his death read: “Those who have been delighted to be in orbit know that Mick has always been so much more than ‘The Man Who Shot the Seventies.’” He was a photographic poet – a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved. Always in his outrageous, cheerful way.”

Sharon Osbourne tweeted: “We’ve lost a legend, true Mick Rock artist.”


Queen guitarist Brian May said he was “sad and shocked to hear of the passing of our friend, photographer Mick Rock”.

The cover image for “The Second Queen”, he said, “gave us an enduring image, inspired by part of the ‘look’ of the Bohemian Rhapsody video two years later, and has been widely imitated by others over the years.”

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