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‘The vaults of heaven will be encircled with rock’: Iconic Bat Out of Hell singer Meat Loaf dies, aged 74, with his wife Deborah by his side – as stars pay tribute to ostentatious rocker who sold over 100m albums

American singer Meat Loaf sold more than 100million albums worldwide and starred in 65 movies. He is pictured in 1993

American singer Meat Loaf sold more than 100million albums worldwide and starred in 65 movies. He is pictured in 1993

American singer Meat Loaf has died following selling over 100million albums and starring in 65 movies
He had remarkable career over six decades with Bat Out Of Hell triumvirate amid most popular offerings
I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) reached number one in 28 countries and won him a Grammy
Suffered health issues like asthma and collapsed on stage in Pittsburgh in 2011 and London in 2003
American singer Meat Loaf, who was known for hits like Bat Out Of Hell, has died at the age of 74 after selling more than 100million albums worldwide and starring in 65 movies, his family declared today.

The singer, whose real name was Marvin Lee Aday, died with his wife Deborah at his side – and while no cause or other details were given by his family, he had suffered numerous health scares over the years. Meat Loaf had an extraordinary career over six decades with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

His hits comprised of the near ten-minute title track from Bat Out Of Hell, Paradise By The Dashboard Light from the same album, and I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) from 1993 album Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell.

The single I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) reached number one in 28 countries and worn him a Grammy award. The rocker as well played the role of Eddie in the 1975 musical film The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Those paying tribute to Meat Loaf today were singer Cher, who said she had ‘so much fun’ when she worked with him, and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber who said the ‘vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock’.

In 2016 he was glorified with the Hero Award at the annual Q Awards music ceremony, which he dedicated to everyday heroes and called on people to ‘bring love back into this world’. His career spanned more than just music, with the musician also featured in a string of films including 1999’s Fight Club and 1992’s Wayne’s World.

Bat Out Of Hell was as well adapted as a stage musical, which premiered in Manchester in 2017 after being written by long-time partner Jim Stein-man and featured some of the star’s best loved hits. It is presently on a UK tour.

Meat Loaf had spoken openly concerning health issues that had suffered him, particularly asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011, and in 2003 he collapsed at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital. He later held a press conference in Kensington to reassure fans concerning his health. Consequently, after an on-stage collapse in Canada in 2016, a statement said it was due to ‘severe dehydration’.

Born in Dallas in 1947, Meat Loaf found early success on the stage in the 1970s, performing in the Broadway musicals Hair and The Rocky Horror Show – before he switched focus to rock music around 1972.

Meat Loaf started collaborating with Mr Steinman – who died last April – on a debut album that year which showcased his powerful voice and established his leather-clad, motorcycle-riding rock persona.

The singer will be best remembered for famously singing in Bat Out Of Hell: ‘Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes; When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I’ll be gone, gone, gone.’

He is survived by his wife Deborah Gillespie – who is from Canada and married him in 2007 – and by daughters Pearl Aday, a singer who went on tour with him; and Amanda Aday, an actress from the HBO series Carnivale.

He had both children with his first wife Leslie Edmonds, whom he met when she was working as a secretary at Bearsville Studios – and they were married from 1978 to 2001. Pearl is married to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian.

A statement by Meat Loaf’s family posted on the star’s Facebook page this morning said: ‘Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.

‘His amazing career spanned six decades that saw him sell over 100million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World. Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top ten selling albums of all time.’

The post added: ‘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. We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls… don’t ever stop rocking!’

Meat Loaf performs in Las Vegas in October 2013. The American singer has died at the age of 74, his family said today

American singer Meat Loaf sold more than 100million albums worldwide and starred in 65 movies. He is pictured in 1993

American singer Meat Loaf sold more than 100million albums worldwide and starred in 65 movies. He is pictured in 1993

Meat Loaf and his wife Deborah at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in February 2008. She was by her husband's side when he died

Meat Loaf and his wife Deborah at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in February 2008. She was by her husband’s side when he died

Prince Charles meets singers including Meat Loaf and Beyonce following 'Party in the Park' at Hyde Park in London in 2003

Prince Charles meets singers including Meat Loaf and Beyonce following ‘Party in the Park’ at Hyde Park in London in 2003

Meat Loaf and Cher pose with Des Lynam (centre) after they joined him on The Des Lynam Show on BBC Radio 2 in 1998

Meat Loaf and Cher pose with Des Lynam (centre) after they joined him on The Des Lynam Show on BBC Radio 2 in 1998

Meat Loaf (right) with long-time collaborator Jim Steinman (left) in March 1978. Mr Steinman died in April last year

Meat Loaf (right) with long-time collaborator Jim Steinman (left) in March 1978. Mr Steinman died in April last year

Texas-born Meat Loaf performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York in October 2006. His family said today that he had died

Texas-born Meat Loaf performs on NBC’s ‘Today’ show in New York in October 2006. His family said today that he had died

US singer Meat Loaf, whose hits included Bat Out of Hell, has died aged 74, a statement on his official Facebook page said

US singer Meat Loaf, whose hits included Bat Out of Hell, has died aged 74, a statement on his official Facebook page said

Meat Loaf initially made his name in theatre productions, including a Broadway run of Hair, and spoke in 2012 about his roots as an actor. He said: ‘I started as an actor, I am an actor. I started in New York in theatre, almost 10 years before Bat came out.
‘While other people were playing out in bars and doing music, I was doing theatre, so that’s why Jim (Steinman) and I struggled so much because Jim and I both came from theatre, and they went ‘You’re not rock people. You’re theatre people. Theatre people don’t make records’. The public didn’t care, but I’ve gone up against that my entire career.’

His long music career saw him release more than ten albums, with his final studio album, Braver Than We Are, coming out in 2012.
‘While other people were playing out in bars and doing music, I was doing theatre, so that’s why Jim (Steinman) and I struggled so much because Jim and I both came from theatre, and they went ‘You’re not rock people. You’re theatre people. Theatre people don’t make records’. The public didn’t care, but I’ve gone up against that my entire career.’

His long music career saw him release more than ten albums, with his final studio album, Braver Than We Are, coming out in 2012.
The singer regularly updated fans with messages on his Facebook page, saying in a post in November last year that he was planning to be back in the studio to record in January this year.

He wrote: ‘Yes, only 7 new songs but and a BIG BUT. Live tracks from (oh goodness I’m not that old) the 70’s great ones a great band and Jimmy on piano, the 80′ so many great live tracks in the 80’s great bands, the 90 and again a great band and so many great shows, 2000’s (how do you write that) great shows great band. Then Tracks up till I hurt my back (I have now had 4 back surgeries) The back surgeries hurt everything.’

He went on to detail surgeries he has undergone on his back and added that the ‘4th surgery Feb 2018 has left me in a lot of pain’ explaining: ‘I now have 13 screws holding on a metal plate or plates in half my back.’

According to reports, he was also planning on launching a reality TV show based on his song I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), with American outlet Deadline saying in March last year that it was to be ‘a relationship competition series’.

He was also a fan of League Two football team Hartlepool United after finding great joy in their nickname ‘Monkey Hangers’, deriving from a legend that a monkey was executed in the town over fears that it was a French spy.

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell the Musical is currently on a UK tour and is expected to go ahead as planned at New Wimbledon Theatre in London tonight.

A statement issued today said: ‘The company of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell the Musical here in the UK is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their great friend and producer, Meat Loaf. He was with us when the show first launched in London at the Coliseum and in Manchester at the Opera House back in 2016 and then came to the show at the Dominion Theatre in London on 25 July 2018. The current UK and Ireland Tour of the musical will perform this evening’s show at the New Wimbledon Theatre in Meat’s memory.’

Music producer Pete Waterman was among the first to pay tribute to Meat Loaf today, saying Mr Steinman’s death just nine months ago would have affected him.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘It’s like when your partner does go, it takes a part of you away. I don’t think you can ever work out what that effectively does to you personally. So, I think that must have had some impact.

‘But he was an amazing character. I once sat on a plane with him to New York and he took a box, like a cold trunk full of beef burgers. It was amazing, what that boy could eat, I’ll tell you – he could eat.

‘Meat Loaf was Meat Loaf. His size was part of the whole legend. It was his voice – you know, you knew what you got with Meat Loaf. It was 100 per cent of everything.’

Singer Cher said she had ‘so much fun’ with Meat Loaf when she worked with him on his 1981 album Dead Ringer. In a tribute posted to Twitter, she added: ‘Am Very Sorry For His Family, Friends, & Fans. Am I imagining It, or Are Amazing Ppl In The Arts Dying every other Day.’

English musician Boy George also tweeted a tribute to Meat Loaf. He wrote: ‘R.I.P Meatloaf. Love and prayers to all his family and close friends. He once turned me upside down in a Chinese Restaurant in St Johns Wood.’

And Andrew Lloyd Webber has said the ‘vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock’ following the death of Meat Loaf. The composer and theatre impresario said: ‘The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock. RIP Meatloaf. Give my best to Jim (Steinman).’

Stephen Fry was also among the first to pay tribute online, saying in a tweet: ‘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.’

And BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley paid tribute, describing his voice as ‘extraordinary’. She tweeted: ‘God I loved Bat Out Of Hell. Soundtrack to my youth. Sad news RIP Meatloaf. Extraordinary voice. Phenomenal character.’

English singer Nik Kershaw tweeted: ‘Proper sad to hear this. I got to hang out with him for a while in Australia. Larger than life character and true force of nature obviously. But also a sweet, funny and gentle man. Rest easy fella.’

Bat Out Of Hell, his mega-selling collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren, came out in 1977 and made him one of the most recognisable performers in rock.

Fans fell hard for the roaring vocals of the long-haired singer and for the comic non-romance of the title track, You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad and Paradise By The Dashboard Light, an operatic cautionary tale about going all the way.

Paradise was a duet with Ellen Foley that featured play by play from New York Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto, who alleged – to much scepticism – that he was unaware of any alternate meanings to reaching third base and heading for home.

After a slow start and mixed reviews, Bat Out Of Hell became one of the top-selling albums in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies.

Meat Loaf wasn’t a consistent hit maker, especially after falling out for years with Mr Steinman.

But he maintained close ties with his fans through his manic live shows, social media and his many television, radio and film appearances, including Fight Club and cameos on Glee and South Park.

Meat Loaf performing at Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire in August 2013

Meat Loaf performing at Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire in August 2013

Meat Loaf arriving for the Kerrang Awards 2006 at The Brewery in London in August that year

Meat Loaf arriving for the Kerrang Awards 2006 at The Brewery in London in August that year

Meat Loaf with his wife Deborah at a hotel in Kensington, West London, in 2003. He passed away with her by his side

Meat Loaf with his wife Deborah at a hotel in Kensington, West London, in 2003. He passed away with her by his side

Meat Loaf performs on stage in Zwolle in the Netherlands in May 2013

Meat Loaf performs on stage in Zwolle in the Netherlands in May 2013

Meat Loaf with Donald Trump at an 'An Evening with The Celebrity Apprentice' in New York in April 2011

Meat Loaf with Donald Trump at an ‘An Evening with The Celebrity Apprentice’ in New York in April 2011

Meat Loaf appeared in 65 movies during a long film career - including The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975

Meat Loaf appeared in 65 movies during a long film career – including The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975

Meat Loaf in the 1997 film Spice World, where he appeared as the Spice Girls' bus driver Dennis

Meat Loaf in the 1997 film Spice World, where he appeared as the Spice Girls’ bus driver Dennis

Meat Loaf appears in the 2001 movie Focus. He initially made his name in theatre productions, including Hair on Broadway

Meat Loaf appears in the 2001 movie Focus. He initially made his name in theatre productions, including Hair on Broadway

Meat Loaf appeared in the 1999 film Fight Club alongside Edward Norton -  a film that also starred Brad Pitt

Meat Loaf appeared in the 1999 film Fight Club alongside Edward Norton –  a film that also starred Brad Pitt

Meat Loaf in the 1992 movie Wayne's World. He had a successful movie career as well as in the music industry

Meat Loaf in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World. He had a successful movie career as well as in the music industry

His biggest musical success after Bat Out Of Hell was Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, a 1993 reunion with Mr Steinman that sold more than 15 million copies and featured the Grammy-winning single I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Mr Steinman died in April last year. Meat Loaf’s other albums included Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose, Hell In A Handbasket and Braver Than We Are.

A native of Dallas, Meat Loaf was the son of a school teacher who raised him on her own after divorcing his alcoholic father, a police officer.

He was singing and acting in high school – Mick Jagger was an early favorite, so was Ethel Merman – and attended Lubbock Christian College and what is now the University of North Texas.

Among his more notable childhood memories were seeing John F. Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas on November 22, 1963, then learning the president had been assassinated and driving to Parkland Hospital and watching a bloodied Jackie Kennedy step out of a car.

He was still a teenager when his mother died and when he acquired the nickname Meat Loaf, the alleged origins of which range from his weight to a favorite  recipe of his mother’s.

He left for Los Angeles after college and was soon fronting the band Meat Loaf Soul.

For years, he alternated between music and the stage, recording briefly for Motown, opening for such acts as the Who and the Grateful Dead and appearing in the Broadway production of Hair.

By the mid-1970s, he was playing the lobotomized biker Eddie in the theatre and film versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, had served as an understudy for his friend John Belushi for the stage production of National Lampoon and had begun working with Steinman on Bat Out of Hell.

The dense, pounding production was openly influenced by Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen, whose band-mates Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg played on the record. Mr Rundgren initially thought of the album as a parody of Springsteen’s grandiose style.

Meat Loaf held a press conference in Kensington, West London, in 2003 where he informed everyone of his good health

Meat Loaf held a press conference in Kensington, West London, in 2003 where he informed everyone of his good health

Meat Loaf during a photocall at the Virgin Megastore in London's Oxford Street in April 2003 where he did an album signing

Meat Loaf during a photocall at the Virgin Megastore in London’s Oxford Street in April 2003 where he did an album signing

Meat Loaf speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong in September 2006

Meat Loaf speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong in September 2006

Meat Loaf (left) being greeted at Stafford railway station by Prince Edward (now the Earl of Wessex) for rehearsals of charity event, the Grand Knockout Tournament at Alton Towers Theme Park. They are pictured there in June 1987

Meat Loaf (left) being greeted at Stafford railway station by Prince Edward (now the Earl of Wessex) for rehearsals of charity event, the Grand Knockout Tournament at Alton Towers Theme Park. They are pictured there in June 1987

Mr Stein-man had known Meat Loaf since the singer appeared in his 1973 musical More Than You Deserve and some of the songs on Bat Out of Hell, including All Revved Up With No Place to Go, were initially written for a planned stage show based on the story of Peter Pan.

Bat Out of Hell took more than two years to find a taker as numerous record executives turned it down, including RCA’s Clive Davis, who disparaged Steinman’s songs and acknowledged that he had misjudged the singer: ‘The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf, despite a powerful voice, just didn’t look like a star,’ Davis wrote in his memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life.

With the help of another Springsteen sideman, Steve Van Zandt, Bat Out of Hell was acquired by Cleveland International, a subsidiary of Epic Records.

The album made little impact until months after its release, when a concert video of the title track was aired on the BBC TV music programme The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Meat Loaf with a Hells Angels escort in London’s Soho in May 1981 in this photograph from the Sony Music Archive

Legendary singer Meat Loaf pictured in an undated photograph

Legendary singer Meat Loaf pictured in an undated photograph

Meat Loaf pictured in 1980

Meat Loaf pictured in 1980

Meat Loaf performing on stage during the Bat Out Of Hell Tour in the US in September 1978

Meat Loaf performing on stage during the Bat Out Of Hell Tour in the US in September 1978

Rock star and actor Meat Loaf backstage with Ted Nugent at a Nugent concert in New York in 1979

Rock star and actor Meat Loaf backstage with Ted Nugent at a Nugent concert in New York in 1979

Meat Loaf during a live concert performance as part of the 'Bat Out of Hell' tour at Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1978

Meat Loaf during a live concert performance as part of the ‘Bat Out of Hell’ tour at Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1978

Meat Loaf spoke openly about health issues that had plagued him, notably asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage

Meat Loaf spoke openly about health issues that had plagued him, notably asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage

In the US, his connection to Rocky Horror helped when he convinced producer Lou Adler to use a video for Paradise By the Dashboard Light as a trailer for the cult movie.

But Meat Loaf was so little known at first that he began his Bat Out of Hell tour in Chicago as the opening act for Cheap Track, then one of the world’s hottest groups.

‘I remember pulling up at the theatre and it says, `TONIGHT: CHEAP TRICK, WITH MEAT LOAF.’ And I said to myself, `These people think we’re serving dinner,” Meat Loaf explained in 2013 on the radio show ‘In the Studio.’

‘And we walk out on stage and these people were such Cheap Trick fans they booed us from the start. They were getting up and giving us the finger. The first six rows stood up and screamed. … When we finished, most of the boos had stopped and we were almost getting applause.’

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