Lou Reed's Cause of Death Revealed

Meanwhile, Vatican joins the tributes.

Ultimate Guitar

Liver disease has been officially announced as the cause of Lou Reed's death, New York Times reports. Following his liver transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio back in April, Reed dubbed himself "bigger and stronger than ever" and "a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry." However, Dr. Charles Miller recently noted that the singer went back to the Clinic for treatment last week, but this time around, Reed's end-stage disease could no longer be treated. Hence, he returned home. "We all agreed that we did everything we could," Miller said. Meanwhile, more tributes to the late singer surfaced, including the one from Vatican. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the culture minister of Vatican, recently tweeted the lyrics to Lou's classic song "Perfect Day." After initially posting chorus lyrics, Ravasi followed up with a Bible passage warning against "illusions" and noting that Reed quoted the passage in the part about reaping what one sows. Lou Reed passed away on Sunday (October 27) at the age of 71.

Oh, it's such a perfect day I'm glad I spend it with you Oh, such a perfect day You just keep me hanging on (Lou Reed)

— Gianfranco Ravasi (@CardRavasi) October 28, 2013

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    von gelb
    His liver was damaged by his alcohol abuse, I would call that drug-related...
    I don't understand the people who classify alcohol as different from drugs. Alcohol is a drug and it can seriously **** you up if abused.
    So heroin was the death of him...
    Contrary to popular belief heroin is not toxic. Pure heroin does no damage to the body (To the mind of course due to it's enormous addictiveness)
    Sad to see UG community is drug ignorant. But that's to be expected considering this place is comprised mostly of 13-17 year olds. It is the impurities in heroin that are almost universally always present that do the physical damage to you. As Sebo stated, pure heroin is virtually physically harmless.
    Ok, that statement is ignorant. Heroin is an opiod analgesic…in layman's terms, it stimulates the same receptors in the central nervous system as endomorphins, which create a sense of euphoria. You can overstimulate these and become desensitized/immune to the effects and therefore, dependent on the drug for more stimulation. That is definitely harmful because you're no longer responding to your body's natural pain reliever. And the adverse effects of this stimulation include low blood pressure, low respiratory rate, constipation…the list goes on. Not ideal, unless you truly need that pain relief. That said, in small doses, it can be an effective pain reliever and is more potent than morphine (one of its metabolites). And yes, impurities can always cause side effects, but heroin itself can do a lot of harm. On top of all that, which organ do you think is responsible for metabolizing heroin? That's right, the liver!, and you can overuse your liver as well. As is probably the case with poor Lou here (not saying it was heroin that killed him, but it was most-likely a cocktail of drugs that his liver had to put up with and just finally gave out). Sorry for being a troll, but we're not all ignorant 15 year olds on this website.
    Unless you OD, or forget to drink water, pretty much all drugs(if pure) are relatively harmless, when used with moderation. And YES, to all you hippies, unless it's used in moderation, marihuana is also very bad for you.
    Thank you Sebo. That is why morphine--the main "active" ingredient in diacetylmorphine, or heroin--is such an effective pain medication, especially in terminal care patients. There is no dose limit, so even though tolerance to the drug builds very quickly, you can increase the dose infinitely...AS long as they aren't breathing too slowly (very important)! Everybody who downvoted you is ignorant because (it isn't polite to call them stupid). With that said, I am in no way saying Heroin is OK. I know Sebo wasn't either. Because it is one of the most addictive substances known to man, using it will lead to serious problems; but a heroin addict, like I was, will just as likely die from getting shot while stealing or doing a Cobain imitation than ODing. If people would take a second to listen to others and to think, not just react, they might learn something. Just an FYI: Why was heroin developed? It was sold over the counter as a cure for morphine addiction. At the start of the 20th Century you could buy a bottle of liquid heroin with syringes from a Sears catalogue. I used heroin when I was hooked on morphine, and you know what? IT WORKED, I never went back to it. I just kept doing the H :-(
    Yeah, did you ever consider the possibility that you don't have to be an atheist or not a Christian in order to appreciate a great musician?
    Shhh, you're on the internet, where if you're not an atheist, you're obviously a lesser species. Just look at reddit.
    That has nothing to do with the internet or being atheist or not. Vatican and the catholic church just isn't known for it's friendly attitude towards rock music in general.
    Every time I look at reddit, I see bored people on both sides getting in the way of intelligent discussion, and that has nothing to do with what side of the religious argument they happen to fall on. The internet has nothing to do with that, and arrogance has nothing to do with reddit or atheism or being religious. If you ARE an arrogant person, then being created in the image of god or holding scientific knowledge above people's heads instead of trying to teach them are both the height of arrogance.
    You've got it backwards. Atheism is the height of arrogance- to believe that nothing could possibly be bigger, more powerful, or more important than ones self. Being created in the image of something has no bearing on ones arrogance. That's like saying that inheriting blonde hair makes you pessimistic, or a dentist.
    What a silly thing to say, the internet has nothing to do with it.
    Guys, the "Lou Reed died because of LuLu" jokes weren't funny the first time, and definitely aren't funny the 1000th time. Have some respect.
    Terrible loss. Glad it's not drugs, meanwhile.
    well it very possibly could have been drugs which wrecked his liver... this or alcohol
    I don't think too many people still do drugs into their 70s. xD Unless, of course, you're Ike Turner.
    You've never been to a Santana Concert I take it... he was so baked he got stuck in a loop. lol
    Guys, who cares if he damaged himself with drugs. The fact of the matter is that we lost an amazing musician, and an amazing person this week. RIP Lou
    It's kind of annoying how everyone here just mentions Lulu as if it was the only material Lou Reed ever made! It's not the only album he recorded, you know? Go listen to the first four albums by The Velvet Underground, listen to Transformer and Berlin (for starters), listen to the endless collaborations Lou Reed made apart from the one with Metallica. Seriously, just stop mentioning Lulu for a little while.
    When a cardinal from the Vatican uses Twitter to share Lou Reed lyrics you know we live in modern times. Praise the Lord!
    RIP, Lou. Your legacy will live forever. Certainly one of the most influential musicians in rock music.
    This is the only celebrity death that has ever genuinely saddened me. He wrote about such profound things in such beautiful ways. The lyrics to "Heroin" don't need to be about heroin the drug, to me they are a metaphor for the desire to escape from the things that get you down. "I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can." He was the greatest, I hate that he died
    His music isn't necessarily my cup of tea, but I have tons of respect for him. He made music for his own sake, and on his own terms. RIP Lou.
    Everyone, in honor of Lou, give Lulu a chance. I'm serious, there's some pretty good stuff on it.
    LULU will not be a good album just because he died, it's a shame he died but that album still sucks. i loved Lou's work and i'll praise him for that not this one
    Oh of course not, not saying it's a Godsend work of art. Just saying to those who never gave it a chance (including myself) that it isn't the scourge of the earth like many of us thought.
    It's different, it grew on me after a while. Junior Dad is definitely a wonderful song.
    I'm no fan of Metallica and I think the rest of Lulu is shit (though I am a fan of Lou's), but I gotta say, Junior Dad is beautiful. RIP. Time to give Velvet Underground proper and his solo work another spin.
    Look at that, I try to have an open mind on Ultimate Guitar and I get downvoted. Keep up the good work fellas.
    I'm just glad no crazy Lulu hater/Metallica fans went through with their death threats... Sounds like the death wasn't a surprise, hopefully he was able to say goodbye to family and friends and pass peacefully, a blessing that most don't get. RIP
    Wow his death was a lot like Rory Gallagher's. They both apparently had successful liver transplants and then they took a turn for the worse. He was a major hero of mine. I really wanted to meet him too. Loaded is one of my favourite albums of all time.
    His death is the only thing in the universe that could possibly increase Lulu sales. Not that he gave a shit. The good die young.
    Vatican Cardinal quoting song about heroin in memory of a guy who died of liver failure.
    Michael Stewart
    Great. Here comes more Michael Jackson sindrome. just last week everyone was making loulou jokes and about how bad he sucks and how much of a joke he is and now that he has died, everyone idolizes him. He is a true legend in life and in death. True fans didnt pick him after he died.
    In a way, it can be good if the MJ syndrome really becomes a thing about Lou. A lot of people called him shit based only on Lulu. Maybe his death can make these people know his career further than that and even change their minds. Not saying that they should like him at all costs, just saying that it's best to give a chance to some of his other stuff to do justice to the variety and extension of his career and form a solid opinion.
    What exactly is the Michael Jackson 'sindrome'? Even when he was at the height of ridicule people never denied his musical legacy. Even during a trial where he had to fight off allegations of kiddy diddling, he was still the guy who wrote Thriller. Likewise, you can be a Lou Reed fan and still think Lulu, and maybe some of his other work, wasn't all that great. This may be shocking news, I know, but different people have different preferences.
    Ah jeez the song from that funny PS4 commercial was his?? What a sad day this is...
    I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with much of his work, but many of my favorite musicians were. He must have been very unique and talented. My sympathy to his family, friends, and fans.