A message about Smith's passing was first posted on the Fall News fansite and reads as follows:
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
R.I.P. Mark Edward Smith, 5 March 1957 - 24 January 2018.
Following this, the Fall's manager Pamela Vander (a.k.a. Pam Van Damned) confirmed the news was indeed true to the media.
Smith's exact cause of death is so far unclear, but the frontman of the beloved British post-punk band has suffered from various health issues in recent years.
In 2017, the Fall were forced to cancel their U.S. tour, as well as various overseas dates, after Smith was hospitalized with what was described at the time as "bizarre and rare (true to form) medical issues," adding they were "connected to his throat, mouth/dental & respiratory system." Smith had also performed in a wheelchair at some concerts in recent years.
Born in 1957 in Prestwich near Manchester, Smith was the driving force behind the Fall, which formed in 1976 and underwent a multitude of lineup changes over the years. In fact, the band became notorious for their in-fighting, with countless controversies and members going through their ranks over the decades. Throughout it all, though, Smith was at the centre of it.
Following a few singles, the Fall released their debut album, the ramshackle Live at the Witch Trials, in 1979. This kick-started an incredibly prolific career, leading to such highlights as 1982's classically chaotic Hex Enduction Hour, 1985's more refined This Nation's Saving Grace and 1986's synth-equipped Bend Sinister.
Over the decades, the Fall rarely if ever slowed down, and the band released their most recent album just last year with New Facts Emerge. And besides the long and winding studio album discography, the Fall put out countless singles, EP, compilations and live albums.
In 2008, Smith also released an autobiography called Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith. His longtime partner and former Fall bandmate Brix Smith Start also released a book chronicling her years with Smith and the band in 2016 called The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise.
In addition to the Fall, Smith was very active outside the band, collaborating with such artists as Gorillaz, Edwyn Collins, Elastica and Coldcut. He also made an entire album with Mouse on Mars as Von Südenfed called Tromatic Reflexxions, which was released in 2007.
Following the news of Smith's passing, many have taken to social media to pay tribute and express their condolences. You can see some of those posts down below.
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
Alas, the great Mark E Smith has passed away. Not merely a legend of indie music, but someone who, for me, was a gateway into that very genre. Will be blasting the A Sides album all week now. The Fall are no more, long live the Fall! pic.twitter.com/rsxFybINmn— edgarwright (@edgarwright) January 24, 2018
R.I.P. Mark E. Smith and thanks for the music https://t.co/kHklkkPJgZ— Andy Bell (@Andybebop) January 24, 2018
R.I.P. Mark E. Smith, one of my favourite lyricists, a true original https://t.co/CgkrOB8jPt— Cadence Weapon (@cadenceweapon) January 24, 2018