16 Truly Disturbing Moments That Made Punk Rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols Live Up to His Name

Sid Vicious, of the Punk Group Sex Pistols, injects himself with heroin in 1978. Art.com

15. Vicious Suffered From Hepatitis Due to Intravenous Drug Use

Sid Vicious received a reprieve from having to demonstrate his inability to play his bass guitar from a strange source: hepatitis. The Sex Pistols were recording their only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks: Here’s the Sex Pistols, in 1977. Vicious would doubtlessly have struggled with the recordings due to being hopelessly unable to play but was hospitalized during the entire recording period due to hepatitis.

Vicious was a frequent intravenous drug user, which often results in complications like hepatitis and was likely the source of his illness. However, his girlfriend at the time, Nancy Spungen, was a part-time sex worker and could also have exposed Vicious to the disease. Hepatitis B is spread through sharing needles and is also a sexually transmitted infection. Hepatitis C can also be spread through sharing needles.

It is not clear what strain of Hepatitis Vicious was treated for in 1977. Both B and C can become chronic, but it is far more likely with C. Hepatitis C tends to most seriously affect those infected later in life through liver failure, but with Vicious’ premature death of a heroin overdose it is unlikely he lived long enough to experience chronic effects from either strain of the disease.