Malcom McLaren, the British entrepreneur and musician who's best known as the founder and ex-manager of the Sex Pistols, died Thursday morning. According to the Independent, the 64-year-old had been battling cancer.
The London native originally got involved in the music business through fashion, starting a clothing store in the city with his partner, Vivienne Westwood. After meeting the New York Dolls on a trip to the US in the early '70s, McLaren supplied the androgynous punk group with stagewear. After that modest success, his return to London in the middle of the decade changed his life permanently.
The clothing shop, now known as Sex, focused on bondage and S&M fashion and became central to the fledgling punk scene. Through acquaintances, McLaren began managing the Strand, a band that would eventually become the Sex Pistols. The band's lineup was cemented in 1975 when McLaren's friend and future Clash manager Bernie Rhodes spotted John Lydon. Intrigued by his fashion sense -- he sported green hair and a torn Pink Floyd shirt with "I hate" written above the band's name -- they had him audition for the band, creating Johnny Rotten.
The Sex Pistols released 1977's 'God Save the Queen' during Queen Elizabeth II's 25th anniversary celebration (aka Silver Jubilee) and to mark the occasion, McLaren planned for the band to perform the single on a boat outside Parliament. The ship was raided, McLaren was arrested and the legend of the Pistols grew, though it would be less than a year before they broke up.
In the following years, McLaren launched a career as a singer, releasing the hip-hop-influenced album 'Duck Rock' in 1983, with the songs 'Buffalo Gals' and 'Double Dutch' both reaching the Top 10 on the UK charts. Around this time, another McLaren-founded band, New Wave act Bow Wow Wow, had a hit with their cover of the '60s pop song 'I Want Candy.' In later years, McLaren collaborated with rappers like KRS-One and had several of his songs sampled by popular artists, including Mariah Carey and Eminem.
"He had been suffering from cancer for some time, but recently had been full of health, which then rapidly deteriorated," his spokesman, Les Molloy, told the Independent. "He died in New York this morning. We are expecting his body to be brought back to London and buried in Highgate Cemetery."
"For me, Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that," Rotten said in a statement. "Above all else he was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you."