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Malcolm McLaren dies from asbestos cancer

Punk music manager Malcolm McLaren has died at the age of 64

Posted on 09 April 2010

Famous music manager and producer, Malcolm McLaren, has died aged 64, reportedly from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

McLaren famously managed the Sex Pistols and has been credited with being the “Godfather” of the punk movement.  The unique look of the Sex Pistols and their revolutionary music stood out when their debut single was released in December 1976.  McLaren managed several punk bands, including New York Dolls and Bow Bow Wow before going on to produce his own records.


Mesothelioma is a rare cancer which typically occurs in the lining of the lungs and is recognised as being exclusively caused by asbestos exposure.  Whilst in the past it was thought to be caused by a single asbestos fibre, that theory is now largely discredited, but it is widely acknowledged that mesothelioma can be caused by low-level asbestos exposure.

Asbestos was used extensively throughout the UK in both industrial and domestic premises.  Whilst asbestos was typically used as an insulating material as lagging on pipes, usually in boiler rooms, it had extensive other uses and is said to have been used as a sound-proofing material in recording studios.

Music producer, Mickie Most, was thought to have been exposed to asbestos in this way when he subsequently died of mesothelioma in 2003. Hollywood legend, Steve McQueen, was also a victim of the disease, but was understood to have been exposed to asbestos working in shipyards before he became famous. While asbestos diseases commonly occur amongst tradesmen who work with asbestos materials, cases are increasingly being reported of mesothelioma amongst less likely victims, such as teachers exposed to asbestos in the classroom and doctors exposed in hospitals.

Around 2,000 people die every year in England from mesothelioma, with the numbers predicted to continue rising towards the end of the decade reflecting the increase in the importation of asbestos during the 1960’s.  Mesothelioma has a “latency period”, meaning that it can take several decades for the disease to emerge after exposure to asbestos occurs.

Leigh Day & Co specialises in cases for asbestos disease victims and has extensive experience of dealing with mesothelioma claims.  To speak to a specialist asbestos lawyer please contact Daniel Easton or Vijay Ganapathy on 020 7650 1200.

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