Howard Marks dies aged 70

The former drug smuggler turned author was suffering from cancer

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Howard Marks has died aged 70.

The former drug smuggler turned author had been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer last year.

Arrested in the America in 1988 after being convicted of smuggling cannabis.


He was sentenced to 25 years at Terre Haute prison, Indiana and was released on parole in 1995 after serving seven years.

Marks recalled his exploits in a best-selling autobiography, Mr Nice.

Speaking to The Observer in January 2015, Marks revealed he had come to terms with his illness.


“It’s impossible to regret any part of my life when I feel happy and I am happy now,” he said. “So I don’t have any regrets and have not had any for a very long time.

“Smuggling cannabis was a wonderful way of living – perpetual culture shock, absurd amounts of money, and the comforting knowledge of getting so many people stoned.”

Ater appearing on the Super Furry Animals’ 1996 song “Hangin’ With Howard Marks”, Marks ran a record label Bothered and also DJed.

Marks stood for election in four parliamentary constituencies on the issue of cannabis legalisation during the 1997 general election.

A statement said: “In the early hours of 10th April 2016, Howard Marks died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his four loving children.

“He fought the illness with grace and humour.

“His death was 21 years to the day since his release from prison in the United States, his second bout of imprisonment for cannabis smuggling since his miraculous acquittal at the Old Bailey in 1980.

“One of his last acts was to set up the Mr Nice foundation, to ensure the causes dear to him continue to receive his support.”

A film of Mr Nice, starring Rhys Ifans, was released in 2010.

The May 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on PJ Harvey’s new album, Brian Wilson, The National’s all-star Grateful Dead tribute, Jack White and T Bone Burnett’s American Epic, Cate Le Bon, Donovan, Jean-Michel Jarre, Cheap Trick, Graham Nash, Heartworn Highways, Sturgill Simpson and more plus 40 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.


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