Mark E Smith of The Fall dies at the age of 60

25 January 2018, 10:44

Singer-songwriter Mark E Smith - a founding member of The Fall - has died at the age of 60, the band's manager has said.

His partner, Pam Van Damned, who also manages the band, said Smith passed away at home on Wednesday morning.

The Fall were forced to cancel a string of shows last year because of Smith's health.

Born in Salford in March 1957, Smith wrote music in his lunch breaks while working on the Manchester docks as a shipping clerk.

After attending a Sex Pistols gig in 1976, he quit the docks for The Fall.

He decided to pursue music because "whatever I did would have to be better than most of the so-called punk s***e I was hearing at the time".

Smith launched the band with friends Martin Bramah, Tony Friel and Una Baines, who missed their first gig because she could not afford a keyboard.

Their first two albums - Live At The Witch Trials and Dragnet - were released in 1979.

Over four decades Smith is said to have hired and fired dozens of musicians.

He once reportedly sacked a sound technician for ordering a salad.

Inspired more by writers than musicians, those he found influential included Thomas Hardy, Philip K Dick, Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft.

Smith was married three times, to Brix Smith, Safron Pryor and Elena Poulou.

In an online tribute, Brix Smith said: "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."