United States singer Meat Loaf, whose theatrical and moody anthems shot him to international fame, has died at 74.
The musician, who was born Marvin Lee Aday, died on Thursday, his family said in a statement. The cause of death was not immediately given.
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight,” the statement said.
“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” the family continued. “From his heart to your souls … don’t ever stop rocking!”
— Jeff Scott Soto (@jeffscottsoto) January 21, 2022
Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1947, Meat Loaf found early success on the stage in the 1970s, performing in the Broadway musicals Hair and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
He switched focus to rock music around 1972 and started collaborating with Jim Steinman on a debut album which showcased his powerful voice and established his leather-clad, motorcycle-riding rock persona.
After a slow start and mixed reviews, his Bat Out of a Hell (1977) became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies.
His illustrious career included hits such as Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, and I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).
I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf. Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century – https://t.co/RxoH36OYHw
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 21, 2022
Over the years, he maintained close ties with his fans through his energetic live shows, social media and his many television, radio and film appearances, including in the film Fight Club and cameos on television shows Glee and South Park.
He acquired his nickname Meat Loaf as a teenager, the alleged origins ranging from his weight to a favourite recipe of his mother’s.
Musicians, friends and fans reacted to the death on social media.
“R.I.P Meatloaf. Love and prayers to all his family and close friends,” singer Boy George wrote on Twitter, with fellow singer Jeff Scott Soto calling him “a true inspiration”.
“I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf,” actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry wrote.