Meat Loaf, the incomparable singer and actor whose 1977 debut, Bat Out of Hell, became one of the best-selling albums of all time, has died at the age of 74. His family announced his death on social media; no cause of death was given, though TMZ reports he became “seriously ill” with COVID-19 this week. “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,” the family wrote in a statement. “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!” Produced by the late Jim Steinman, Bat Out of Hell propelled Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday) into the rock stratosphere with operatic hit songs such as “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” The duo worked together on three additional albums, including 1993’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained Meat Loaf’s sole Grammy-winning and Billboard No. 1 power ballad, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
In addition to his music career — it’s estimated that his 12 albums sold more than 100 million copies — Meat Loaf appeared in dozens of television and film roles, perhaps most memorably as former delivery boy Eddie in the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His other credits include Wayne’s World, Fight Club, Spice World, and, more recently, the paranormal TV series Ghost Wars. In an interview last year, Meat Loaf remarked that he was looking forward to a creatively prosperous 2022 in regards to both new music and live performances. “My voice is in incredible shape,” he said at the time. “I don’t sound like my age at all.”
A number of musicians and celebrities have paid tribute to Meat Loaf following his death. Susan Sarandon, Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, shared a statement on the passing of her musical co-star to People. “Big man, big voice, big heart. In my experience, always a gentleman,” Sarandon said on Saturday. “Condolences to his family.” “He was, as you might imagine, a larger than life character with a voice and stage presence to match and is one of those rare people who truly was a one off talent and personality,” wrote Bonnie Tyler, whose song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was written by Steinman. “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf,” added Stephen Fry, who performed with him on SNL. Boy George also recalled the time when Meat Loaf “turned me upside down in a Chinese restaurant.” Read tributes from Cher, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and more below.
This post has been updated throughout.