Game of Thrones star Wilko Johnson (Ilyn Payne) dies at 75


announcement was made on Johnson’s Twitter account early Wednesday morning.

“This is the announcement we never wanted to make, & we do so with a very heavy heart: Wilko Johnson has died,” the post reads. “He passed away at home on Monday 21st November. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this very sad time. RIP Wilko Johnson.”

Johnson’s menacing scowl landed him the role of Ilyn Payne, the mute executioner that infamously took off Ned Stark’s head in season 1 of Game of Thrones. Payne was also one of the many individuals to make Arya Stark’s kill list that she recited in the early seasons.

Payne may have stayed on in the role beyond season 2 if not for a health scare. While Game of Thrones season 2 was airing, Johnson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He did not return to the show after the diagnosis. A life-saving 11-hour surgery did end up helping Johnson, who went on to play guitar with his band Dr. Feelgood for several years after the procedure. Johnson’s successful music career spanned five decades.

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