The composer whose song, Perfect Day, was covered by Elton and many others, has died at the age of 71.
Lou Reed, once the frontman for the Velvet Underground, had a liver transplant in May. His death is believed to be linked to the surgery, as he was said to be in frail health months after surgery.
Singer Marianne Faithfull said: ‘He was a great friend, musician, songwriter and band leader – one of the most intelligent musicians I’ve known and a great guitarist.
‘‘His songs will live for ever. In my opinion, he was a genius. I will miss him terribly.’’
The New Yorker, who came to England in September to collect a GQ magazine Inspiration award, will be remembered for his hit, Walk On The Wild Side, and for being a punk poet who fired up generations of musicians.
He loved simplicity – once quipping that ‘‘one chord is fine, two chords are pushing it, three chords and you’re into jazz.”
His sales rarely matched his critical success – with the Velvets’ debut peaking at 171 in the US charts but later appearing at No.13 in the Rolling Stone list of the greatest albums of all time.
After the band split in 1970, he took a job earning $40 a week as a typist at his father’s accountancy company, but went on to record his debut solo album in London.
Perfect Day, released in 1972 on the Transformer album, spent three weeks at No.1 in Britain more than two decades later.
Vocalists including Lou, Elton, David Bowie and Bono, recorded it for Children In Need.
In his later years, Reed continued to break new ground, recording The Raven – a concept album about Edgar Allan Poe – and a collaboration with Metallica.
He is survived by his wife, Laurie Anderson.