Former Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers star Billy Rath has died, aged 66.

The bassist replaced original Heartbreakers star Richard Hell in 1976, and appeared on the group's only studio album, L.A.M.F., in the late 1970s.

As a member of the Heartbreakers, Rath toured with the Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash on the Anarchy Tour.

The group split in 1978 and Rath turned his back on music and went back to school to study psychology and theology.

In a 2011 interview, obtained by, he said, "I was helping/counselling people with alcohol/drug addiction. I also became a minister and pastored a few churches helping people find a better way to live."

He returned to rock years later and formed the Street Pirates.