Openly gay guitarist of Irish folk-punk band The Pogues, Philip Chevron, has died of cancer at the age of 56.

Chevron yesterday lost a long battle with cancer yesterday.

A message on the Pogues’ website read: “After a long illness Philip passed away peacefully this morning. He was unique. We’ll miss him terribly. Dublin town, and the world, just got smaller.”

“Those of us on pogues.com are at a loss for words,” it continued. ”We all send our sincere condolences to his family. His loved ones are in our thoughts.”

On being gay in an interview, Chevron said: “Being gay and growing up in Ireland in the 1970s was a terrifying experience for any young man. I decided to come out when I was in The Pogues because I thought well here’s an-all drinking, all-rousing, all-shagging, all stay-up-all-night sort of macho band which has me, too. With Bronski Beat and Frankie it was very obvious but I guess I wanted to show a more ordinary side to it.”

Chevron received treatment for head and neck cancer in 2007, however a new inoperable tumour had appeared in August last year.

He was born Philip Ryan in Dublin, in 1957. After forming punk band the Radiators From Space, he joined the Pogues. He went on to write several of the band’s popular tracks, including Thousands Are Sailing.