Mark E. Smith, the irascible and utterly one-of-a-kind frontman — and only constant member — of Manchester post-punk icons The Fall, died at home today following months of illness and concert cancellations, his manager announced. He was 60.
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.
Pam Van Damned
The Fall – manager
The Fall last month canceled its upcoming seven-night residency in Brooklyn that already had been rescheduled once from last year due to Smith’s health issues. At the time, Vander wrote, “Mark is settled and resting up, and we don’t wanna screw that up. Sorry to all/fans/friends in NYC and thanks to venue/promoters etc for the opportunity for The Fall to hit NYC again. We will see you there at some point in the future, but for now, more rest & recovery.”
She also provided a somewhat cryptic statement from Smith himself: “BACK SOONER THAN LATER PALS!!! M.E.S. Shock House Now, Woodpecker, Peon Son… titles that await!”
Smith’s ill health initially forced the postponement of the Brooklyn shows, which had been planned for September, as well as a headlining slot at the the Cropped Out Festival in Louisville, Ky. Then, in October, Smith returned to the stage in the U.K., strapped into a wheelchair, but still delivering his trademark vocals.
By November, though, the 60-year-old Smith’s health was again an issue following a reported major surgery, and The Fall canceled several planned dates in the U.K. and Portugal.
Smith formed The Fall in Manchester, England, in 1976, and has kept the shambolic post-punk act going since then with dozens of different musicians. All told, he’s released 32 studio albums under The Fall banner, most recently 2017’s New Facts Emerge.
The tributes to Smith immediately began spreading across social media:
The day I’ve been dreading.
“It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith. He passed this morning at home…. 1/2
— Fall news (@fallnews) January 24, 2018
I’m taking the news in right now. I will put a statement out tomorrow. I hope you will all understand. Thank you for your lovely messages, they mean a lot. I love you, Brix pic.twitter.com/P0rEU6CeC5
— Brix Smith Start (@Brixsmithstart) January 24, 2018
— Brix Smith Start (@Brixsmithstart) January 25, 2018
Sad to hear about the death of Mark E. Smith at 60. British music loses one of its most original and prolific talents. pic.twitter.com/ALqXl3zfBg
— THE THE (@thethe) January 24, 2018
First we lost Ursula Le Guin, then Hugh Masekela, now Mark E Smith. Been a tough week for cultural icons.
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) January 24, 2018
Mark, me old mucker… you will be sorely missed! The North will rise again! RIP. Love Hooky x
— Peter Hook (@peterhook) January 24, 2018
RIP Mark E Smith of The Fall, Hip Priest. I still love the crazy rockabilly beat of
" How I Wrote Elastic Man" Great lyrics.
— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) January 24, 2018
— mike watt (@wattfrompedro) January 24, 2018
“All the young groups know they can imitate but I teach. Because I’m the hip priest”. R.I.P. Mark E. Smith. pic.twitter.com/Ql5VAlp0qa
— stevewynn (@stevewynn) January 24, 2018
— David Gedge (@weddingpresent) January 24, 2018
So, RIP MES.
Because we're indie pop or C86 or 'twee' or whatever it is we're supposed to be, people might not… https://t.co/NJn3hDCRY6
— Close Lobsters (@CloseLobsters) January 24, 2018
Very sad to hear the news about Mark E Smith. Known him a long time and had the usual mixture of madness and monkey business with him. Love The Fall. So many tales. Thoughts are with family, friends, fans, and Fall members past and present. RIP #TheFall #MarkESmith
— Pete Wylie is WAH!🌟 (@petewylie) January 24, 2018
The Fall. Bingo masters breakout. https://t.co/8iwsOpBR1k Amazing-Edwyn,
— Edwyn Collins (@EdwynCollins) January 24, 2018
RIP Mark E Smith pic.twitter.com/4BezoJzeQz
— PIXIES (@PIXIES) January 24, 2018
So so sad to hear that we’ve lost Mark E Smith. A true uncompromising musical maverick. A genius, a curmudgeon and someone whose company it was an honour to share. So long M.E.S x x x pic.twitter.com/aZFGNXZuRW
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) January 24, 2018
RIP – Mark E Smith – The Fall – Industrial Estate https://t.co/JB1Krk2kiy
— blancmange (@_blancmange_) January 24, 2018
— superchunk (@superchunk) January 24, 2018
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- The Fall’s 7-disc ‘The Singles 1978-2016’ box set to collect 117 A-sides and B-sides
- The Fall postpones rare U.S. concerts to 2018 due to concerns about Mark E. Smith’s health
- A week of The Fall: Mark E. Smith and Co. extend Brooklyn residency to 7 nights
- The Fall returns to America for 5-night Brooklyn residency, Kentucky festival
- The Fall to release ‘New Facts Emerge’ — band’s 32nd studio album — in July