Original Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor reveals he has stage four prostate cancer

Andy Taylor onstage with Duran Duran in 2004
Andy Taylor onstage with Duran Duran in 2004 (Image credit: Jo Hale / Stringer / Getty)

Andy Taylor, best known for his role as the founding guitarist in British new wave group Duran Duran, has announced that he was diagnosed with stage four cancer four years ago.

The guitarist was notably absent from Duran Duran’s induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at LA’s Microsoft Theater on Saturday (November 5). Taking a break from their performance, Taylor’s bandmates read out a letter from the guitarist, in which he revealed the details of his illness.

“Just over four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer,” says Taylor. “Many families have experienced the slow burn of this disease and of course we are no different; so I speak from the perspective of a family man but with profound humility to the band, the greatest fans a group could have and this exceptional accolade.

“I have the ‘Rodgers and Edwards’ of doctors and medical treatment that until very recently allowed me to just rock on. Although my current condition is not immediately life-threatening there is no cure.”

Taylor also writes that he felt attending the event at this point would be “pushing his boundaries” physically and mentally. 

“I’m truly sorry and massively disappointed I couldn’t make it,” reads Taylor’s note. “Let there be no doubt I was stoked about the whole thing, even bought a new guitar with the essential whammy! I'm so very proud of these four brothers; I'm amazed at their durability, and I'm overjoyed at accepting this award. I often doubted the day would come. I'm sure as hell glad I'm around to see the day.”

While the letter was not read out in full at the ceremony, it has been published on Duran Duran’s site and elsewhere in the note, Taylor recollects some of his early days with the band – completed by singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor – alongside his development as a player.

“As a guitar player in a progressive band from the synth days of the early eighties, literally from the day I met Nick, John, Simon and Roger they truly valued the contribution of a rather noisy, versatile Northern brat,” says Taylor. 

“We all grew up on the same vinyl records and live gigs, from David Bowie to Roxy Music, The Sex Pistols and of course CHIC. I could go to all those places as a player and developed a hybrid guitar style that fitted this amazing concept OF A BAND…”

“It is devastating news,” Le Bon told reporters after the show. “To find that… a mate, a friend, one of our family is is not going to be around for very long, it is absolutely devastating. We love Andy dearly… I'm not gonna stand here and cry – I think that would be inappropriate – but that's what I feel like.”

Duran Duran rose from their rather humble beginnings in the UK’s industrialised midlands region to become one of the quintessential bands of the 1980s, penning hits like Rio, Girls On Film and A View To A Kill along the way. The band’s original lineup has not performed together since 2004.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.