Last Words Riddle Of Manic Rocker Richie

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Exclusive by Damian Lazarus

The disappearance of troubled pop star Richie Edwards has taken a new twist with the publication of his last interview.

The Manic Street Preachers' guitarist, who went missing two months ago, told a Japanese music magazine that he was feeling better than ever.

Richie, 28, whose car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge, a notorious suicide spot, said: "My lifestyle has become healthy. I've quit the alcohol and everything. I can now use the whole day.

"I used to start drinking as soon as I woke up, so the day was shorter. Some people maintain that all the best writing is done by alcoholics or junkies - that's crap. Now I wake up in the morning and I know what I want to do. I want to write, it makes me feel better in myself."

But he had been saddened by the death of his 17-year-old dog Snoopy. "I miss my dog . . . that's why I shaved my head," he said.

Richie, who was in hospital last August with "nervous exhaustion", spoke to the Japanese magazine a fortnight before he was last seen - leaving a London hotel after reportedly drawing £200 a day from his bank account.

[Originally published: Sunday Mirror, 2 April 1995]