American musician Alan Merrill has died from coronavirus

American musician Alan Merrill, who co-wrote and recorded the original version of I Love Rock 'n' Roll with his band the Arrows in 1975, has died of coronavirus. Merrill was 69.

His daughter, Laura Merrill, posted a statement on Facebook about his death, saying, "the coronavirus took my father this morning," adding that she was "given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out".

Alan Merrill died in New York over the weekend. Credit:Neil Kitson/Redferns

Joan Jett, with her band the Blackhearts, had a huge hit with I Love Rock 'n' Roll in 1982 and she paid tribute to Merrill on social media.

"I've just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed," Jett said in a statement on Twitter. "My thoughts and love go to his family, friends and music community as a whole.

"I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me.

"With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side."

Merrill was born in New York and enjoyed some early musical success in Japan and the United Kingdom. He formed the Arrows in London in 1974 with guitarist Jake Hooker and drummer Paul Varley, soon afterwards writing I Love Rock 'n' Roll with Hooker. The band's other singles included Touch Too Much and My Last Night With You. The Arrows broke up in 1977 and Merrill went on to a solo career, continuing to play up until just a few weeks ago.

"How could this be?" Merrill's daughter said in her statement, posted on Sunday, March 29. "I was just at his show a couple of weeks ago. I had just photographed his portrait for his new album. Texted with him earlier. He played down the 'cold' he thought he had.

"People are dying. You don't think it'll happen to you or your strong family. It has. Stay home if not for you… for others. For my dad. This thing is real. We probably won't be able to mourn him properly with a funeral. I just lost the greatest love of my life and won't be able to hug anyone because I've been exposed and need to self quarantine for two weeks… alone."

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