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Rock pioneer Lou Reed passed away this weekend at age 71. Since he was a man celebrated for his poetic lyrics, it seems only right to remember him via the beautiful writing from critics and close friends alike that has poured out since his death. Read their words, then listen to his best songs below.

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“Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be. I knew the Lou of recent years and he was always full of good heart. His music will outlive time itself. We are all timebound, but today, with the loss of liberating Lou, life is a pigsty.”

—musician Morrissey, on his blog

“But Lou Reed was the one absolute and unimpeachable exception to the decline of cool. Because it wasn’t possible to doubt that Lou Reed was cool and that he was a great artist, too. And he was cool for decades. He was cool all the way through… Why did his cool survive while others failed? I think it was because his cool was not contemptuous. His cool was not a closing of the heart. His cool was an attempt to make the world new, to capture the urgency of the situation we are faced with, and to live more fully.”

—Stephen Marche, for Esquire

“The measure of his influence and importance dwarfs the news item, the obituary, the tribute. He is everywhere. “

—Sasha Frere-Jones, for The New Yorker

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“Two kids have a chance meeting and 47 years later we fight and love the same way—losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill… broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories—we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse.”

—bandmate John Cale, to Rolling Stone

“He permanently warped how people hear, play and think about music, ever since he led the Velvet Underground, America’s most influential rock band. His guitar was full of electricity from other planets, changing the way guitars have howled ever since. He invented New York.”

—Rob Sheffield, for Rolling Stone

Are you familiar with Lou Reed? What’s your favorite song of his? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.

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