Sylvain Sylvain, the musician hailed as the “lynchpin” of the rock band, New York Dolls, has died at the age of 69 following a two-year battle with an unspecified form of cancer.
The guitarist was born Sylvain Mizrahi to a Syrian Jewish family in Cairo in 1951. His family emigrated during the Suez Crisis, which is believed to have triggered a renewed wave of antisemitism across the country, from which the family was fleeing. The family eventually settled in Queens, New York following a brief stay in France.
He joined the New York Dolls in 1972 after befriending the band’s original drummer, Billy Murcia, at his high school. The guitarist pursued a solo career and recorded numerous albums up until the late 1990s.
Lenny Kaye, Patti Smith’s longtime Jewish guitarist, issued a social media post on Sylvain Sylvain’s personal Facebook page to announce his death and celebrate his accolades.