Belfast Telegraph

The Fall singer Mark E Smith passes away, aged 60

By Julia Hunt

Singer-songwriter Mark E Smith has died at the age of 60.

The musician, a founding member of The Fall, died at home yesterday morning.

His partner, Pam Van Damned, who is also the band's manager, said in a statement: "It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E Smith.

"A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days.

"In the meantime, Pam and Mark's family request privacy at this sad time."

Last year the band were forced to cancel a string of shows due to Smith's health.

For four decades Smith hired and fired dozens of musicians at will, and it was not just those on stage who had to fear for their jobs - he once reportedly fired a sound technician for ordering a salad.

Inspired more by literary giants than musicians, he was an extraordinary lyricist with an aggressive bite.

His writing style often changed. Sometimes intricate stories laced with sci-fi madness, other times wacky one-liners which pierced through the chaos.

Born into a working-class family in Broughton, Salford, on March 5, 1957, Smith grew up in Prestwich.

He first found work in a meat factory and then as a shipping clerk on the Manchester docks where on his lunch breaks he would write music.

In 1976 he quit the docks for The Fall after attending a Sex Pistols gig. Their first two albums, Live At The Witch Trials and Dragnet, arrived in 1979.

Married three times, he first tied the knot in July 1983 with Brix Smith, who instantly became a band member.

After their divorce he was briefly married to Safron Pryor, who had run the band's fan club, during the Nineties, before meeting Elena Poulou in Berlin in December 2000.

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