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The Fall Frontman Mark E. Smith Passes

The Fall Frontman Mark E. Smith Passes

Smith (by samsaundersleeds / via Wikimedia Commons)
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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Mark E Smith, frontman, and the only permanent member of the Manchester post-punk band The Fall, has died. He was 60.

News of his death was reported by the band’s manager Pam Vander via their label Cherry Red Records, and social media.

“It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith. He passed this morning at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark’s family request privacy at this sad time,” the statement from Vander said.

A cause of death was not disclosed, but Smith had been battling health issues for some time. In August, The Fall was forced to cancel a string of shows in the U.S. after Smith was hospitalized for issues relating to his throat, mouth and respiratory system. More shows were canceled in December, with Vander citing “a full year of bad health” as the reason.

A Lancashire native, Smith founded The Fall in 1976 with friends Martin Bramah, Una Baines and Tony Friel, taking the name of the band from the Albert Camus novel of the same name. While the band never scored lasting mainstream success, their unique sound and prodigious output — 31 studio albums and 32 live albums — earned them a devoted and loyal following.

Since the Fall formed in 1976, Smith remained the only constant in the band. The other founding members of the group had all exited by 1976 and over the course of the band’s 40-year-existence, more than 66 musicians have been part of the lineup. At least one-third of those stayed for less than a year and the current configuration of Pete Greenway, Dave Spurr, and Keiron Melling is the most stable in the band’s history.

Apart from his work with The Fall, Smith also recorded a pair of spoken word albums, featuring readings drawn from Fall lyrics, samples of Fall songs and contributions from members of the Fall.

He also collaborated with and provided guest vocals for bands ranging from Elastica to Gorillaz, and performed with The group Shuttleworth to record the World Cup song “England’s Heartbeat”

Smith was married three times — once to American guitarist and Fall member Brix Smith-Start; they divorced in 1989. He later married Saffron Prior, who ran the Fall’s fan club and then his current wife, Eleni Poulou, who was a keyboardist with the band until 2016.

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