The world has lost a rock and roll legend. The death of Meat Loaf, singer of some of the most beloved power ballads of all time, was announced early Friday on his verified Facebook page, reports CNN. He was 74. "Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda, and close friends," the statement said. The singer, born Marvin Lee Aday in 1947 in Dallas, Texas, was best known for his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, one of the best-selling albums of all time. Over a decades-long career, he sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and also appeared in dozens of movies, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club.
"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 Facebook statement said. "From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!" Meat Loaf's mother, a teacher who sang in a gospel quartet, "instilled a love of performing in her only child," per the BBC. After her death, he moved to Los Angeles and formed his first band, Meat Loaf Soul. After turning down recording contracts, he left the band to join the cast of the musical Hair and was later cast in the original LA production of Rocky Horror.
Bat Out of Hell, written by composer Jim Steinman and produced by Todd Rundgren, took two years to find a label and initially received mixed reviews, the AP reports. Record industry execs later admitted they had misjudged the then-little-known singer. "The songs were coming over as very theatrical, and Meat Loaf, despite a powerful voice, just didn’t look like a star,” RCA exec Clive Davis wrote in his memoir. Meat Loaf released another 11 albums after his 1977 debut, including 1993's Bat Out of Hell II, which featured the hit single "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." No cause of death was disclosed. The singer had a health scare in 2016 when he collapsed onstage during a show in Canada. (Steinman, who worked with Meat Loaf on numerous other albums, died in April last year.)