Jan. 24, 2018: The Fall Singer, Mark E. Smith, Dies

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Mark E. Smith, from the Fall’s Facebook page

Mark E. Smith, founder, songwriter and lead singer of post-punk band The Fall died January 24, 2018, at 60. The news was shared by the band’s manager, Pam Vander, on the group’s Facebook page with the simple announcement:

“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.”

Shortly after the announcement, several acts posted their affection for the performer on social media.

Though no cause of death was formally revealed, Smith had been ill with both lung and kidney cancer. For much of the previous year, the band canceled many dates. On Nov. 30, when they withdrew from a date in Bristol, U.K., Smith apologized on the band’s website:

“A Message to All. From Mark E. Smith/The Fall group. As I, like Pr Rupert leave Bristol with my tail between my legs, I wish to give my great apologies to everybody. This idiotic idea to do both shows was purely my idea, against the advice of Pamela and The Fall group, agent & promoter. Hope to replace shows within 4 – 6 weeks. In the interim we have eight new songs ready to go and will try and let you hear a few before Christmas. From head patient to you, the patients. I love you all but cannot embrace you all, Mark E. Smith”

Mark Edward Smith was born in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England, on March 5, 1957, moving to  Prestwich early in life. Smith founded the Fall in 1976 in Greater Manchester, U.K., after seeing the Sex Pistols perform. The band was named after a novel by Albert Camus. They have long been considered one of the most prolific recording bands of the era. A new album from the Fall was almost an annual event, with 32 studio albums released between 1979 and 2017. The most recent, New Facts Emerge, arrived last July 28.

While they charted more than two dozen singles in the U.K., all but a handful were in the lower reaches of the chart. And although none were hits, the band cemented their status as cult favorites.

Watch “There’s a Ghost in My House”

Smith was known to go through band members quickly: during their decades-long career, the Fall totaled 66 different members. Smith was the one constant.

Related: A farewell to those who left us in 2018

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