Phil Chevron, longtime guitarist for Celtic-punk greats the Pogues, has died after a lengthy battle with head and neck cancer, the Independent reports. The 56-year-old musician had last appeared publicly in August, when a host of artists -- among them Pogues singer Shane MacGowan -- staged a fundraiser in his honor.

Born Philip Ryan, Chevron grew up in the Santry section of Dublin and played in the early Irish punk outfit Radiators From Space, whose 1979 'Ghostown' is regarded as a classic. Chevron joined the Pogues in 1984 and wrote such tunes as 'Thousands Are Sailing,' a standout from the group's 1988 album 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God.'

Chevron's death comes some six years after he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and according to the Independent, he'd undergone treatment ever since. Chevron leaves behind a legion of fans and admirers, and as Pogues management contacts friends and bandmates to deliver the somber news, author Joseph O'Connor has offered what promises to be one of many tributes.

"Philip Chevron is one of the greatest Irish songwriters of all time, certainly the best of my generation, an artist of a unique and absolutely compelling sensibility," O'Connor said.