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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Morrissey sparks furore over Bush
Morrissey in Manchester
Morrissey is due to tour the US in July and August
Rock icon Morrissey has caused outrage among US fans with reported comments that he wished President Bush had died.

The former Smiths frontman informed a Dublin crowd on Saturday that former president Ronald Reagan had died, the Manchester Evening News reported.

He went on to say he wished the current president, George W Bush, had died instead, according to the paper.

The paper's website has 100 comments - most from the US - with about six out of every seven criticising the singer.

More tastelessness and idiocy from across the Atlantic
Jean Shaw
"He has the right to say anything he wishes. It just sounds so much like Osama," wrote Lee Hempfling from Phoenix, Arizona.

"More tastelessness and idiocy from across the Atlantic," said Jean Shaw, in San Francisco.

"If it were the other way around (Americans cheering the death of a foreign leader), we'd never hear the end of it."

But others wrote in support. "Somebody had to say it," was the comment from Andrew in Anaheim, California.

And Evan Woods in Los Angeles wrote: "Morrissey obviously does not bow before the flag, like so many Americans, and religiously honour anyone who has ever held a position of power."

He is no stranger to controversy
Morrissey spokesman
The singer, whose comeback album went to number two in the UK in May, is to tour the US as part of the Lollapalooza festival in July and August.

His spokesman was unavailable for comment to BBC News Online on Thursday, but told the Manchester Evening News there was no recording of the Dublin Castle show.

"But as far as we can tell, Morrissey was just alerting the audience to the fact that Ronald Reagan had died," he said.

"He then simply followed that up with his comment about George Bush, which was his own opinion. He is no stranger to controversy."

The newspaper said the internet version of its original story was viewed more than 500,000 times in 24 hours.

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