'Mr Nice' Howard Marks has died aged 70

The former drug smuggler turned author has died following a battle with cancer.

Becca Frankland

Date published: 11th Apr 2016

Image: Howard Marks

Renowned former drug smuggler and writer Howard Marks AKA Mr Nice has passed away aged 70.

The Welshman announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer. In an interview with The Observer in January 2015 he said: "It's impossible to regret any part of my life when I feel happy and I am happy now, so I don't have any regrets and have not had any for a very long time."

Marks was convicted of smuggling cannabis in 1988 by the American Drug Enforcement Administration. He was supposedly smuggling as much as 30 tons of the drug and was connected with the CIA, IRA, MI6 and Mafia.

The tales of his drug exploits formed his bestselling autobiography Mr Nice, which was later made into a film starring Rhys Ifans. The memoir was released in 1996, just a year after his release from prison. He also became a prominent campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis. 

Howard Marks was involved in the music industry and featured on the 1996 Super Furry Animals track 'Hanging with Howard Marks'. His career as a performer also saw him give talks across Britain, notably at events like Bestival and Festival No.6

Rob da Bank, the founder of Bestival shared one of his favourite memories of Howard on Instagram earlier (above).

In last year's Observer interview, Marks said: "Of course, the legalising of marijuana for medical purposes is to be welcomed. But, personally, I never wanted to have to wait until I had cancer before I could legally smoke.

“I want it to be legalised for consuming recreationally – and I’m pleased to see they have now done this in four US states. After my experiences at the hands of the US legal system, America is the last place in the world that I thought would be leading the charge.”

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