Mark E. Smith, Frontman of The Fall and Legendary Post-Punk Icon, Has Died

Mark E. Smith, the indefatigable and incomparably bizarre frontman of The Fall, has died. He was 60.

A representative for the British post-punk band confirmed the news to Newsweek.

"It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith," Fall manager Pam Van Damned said in a statement, which was posted on a Fall fan site. "He passed this morning (24th January) at home. 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."

Smith founded The Fall in 1976 and remained its only constant member throughout more than four decades as a band. The group inspired numerous generations of indie-rock bands, including Pavement, Sonic Youth and Guided by Voices, to name a few. Despite this formidable influence, The Fall never had a real radio hit and Smith's harsh, repetitive style and gruff vocals distanced the band's music from mainstream audiences.

The Fall released more than 30 studio albums, beginning with 1979's Live at the Witch Trials—a discography that can be daunting to newcomers. The band's lineup constantly changed, with Smith firing bandmates and shuffling members around at his leisure. Smith remained active with the band nearly to the end, releasing a final album, New Facts Emerge, in 2017.

GettyImages-73765303 Mark E Smith of The Fall performs at the Hammersmith Palais on April 1, 2007 in London. Jim Dyson/Getty Images

The cause of death is not yet clear. In recent months, Smith was reported to be ill. In August, the band was forced to cancel tour dates—including some rare shows in the United States after Smith's hospitalization due to "a mix of bizarre and rare (true to form) medical issues."

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"Your Lord and Saviour Markus E. Smith wants to let you all know that even though he can’t play live for a short while, the cabin fever is spitting out a new album already and new music is now (as ever) The Fall’s main focus," The Fall's manager said in a statement at that time.

Here's "Barmy," from the band's most acclaimed album, This Nation's Saving Grace: