The Script guitarist and songwriter Mark Sheehan dies aged 46

Mark Sheehan guitarist with The Script
(Image credit: Carla Speight/Getty Image)

Mark Sheehan, guitarist and songwriter with multi-platinum Irish trio The Script, has died at the age of 46 in hospital after a brief illness.

"Much loved husband, father, brother, bandmate and friend Mark Sheehan passed away today in hospital after a brief illness," the band wrote in a statement. "The family and group ask fans to respect their privacy at this tragic time."

Sheehan was an integral part of one of Ireland's biggest musical success stories with 20 million record sales, finding international success with The Script's 2008 self-titled debut album up to 2019's Sunsets & Full Moons. The band were a fixture in the charts in their home country, UK and Europe with hit singles including Breakeven, The Man Who Can't Be Moved, Hall Of Fame, Nothing, Superheroes and Rain. The band also enjoyed success in countries including the US and Europe.

The band were no overnight success, forming alongside his childhood friend, lead vocalist and keyboardist Danny O'Donoghue and drummer Glen Power in 2001, they would eventually sign to Sony imprint Phonogenic but in the years before their chart success there was a long musical education for Sheehan that was vital to the band's eventual crossover success.

“Ireland was so rock-heavy, and because I really liked R ’n’ B and hip-hop I wanted to go to the home of it," he told us in 2018. "I went to the States to study music and I was there for 11 years. I ended up in Nashville, LA, Florida, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia – working with loads of people. I worked with Boyz II Men and Montell Jordan.

“My favourite producer at the time was Teddy Riley who had the new jack swing thing and No Diggity had just come out," Sheehan added. "At the time Pharrell Williams and others were also working with Teddy, so that’s how I met those guys too. I worked with Rodney Jerkins and we used to hang out together in the studio with people and write songs. I was very much immersed in an r’n’b world. If you listen to r’n’b and hip-hop you’ll notice the guitar is never layered, it’s always a one-piece guitar riff. 

“In rock music, even pop music, they’ll layer guitar riffs and make it really powerful and strong. In r'n'b and hip-hop it’s very solo-sounding and brought back in the mix a lot. Those artists favour the kicks, snares and bass. So I come from that world.”

Sheehan leaves behind his wife of 17 years, Rina, and their three children. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.