Rock star Meat Loaf, a native of Texas known for his theatrical style and hits such as “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” died on Thursday, January 20. According to a statement on his Facebook page, the singer — born Marvin Lee Aday — died on Thursday night. He was 74. A cause of death was not provided.
“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 post cited his “amazing career” that spanned six decades, with the artist selling more than 100 million albums worldwide and starring in more than 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Wayne’s World.
Aday grew up in Dallas and was already singing and acting in high school before attending Lubbock Christian College and the University of North Texas. After college, he moved to Los Angeles to sing for a band called Meat Loaf Soul, and also acted in stage productions, including the Broadway production of Hair.
He eventually found massive success with Bat Out of a Hell, his collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman, which was released in 1977, won a Grammy Award, and became one of the bestselling records in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies.
AP has a funny anecdote about his early days, when he was not yet known and was the opening act for Cheap Trick.
“I remember pulling up at the theater and it says, ‘Tonight: Cheap Trick, with Meat Loaf,’” the singer said. “And I said to myself, ‘These people think we’re serving dinner.’”
Dallas writer Robert Wilonsky recalls that the best day he ever spent at his high school was March 6, 2015, when he handed Meat Loaf his Distinguished Alumni Award.
“Upon his return to Dallas’ Thomas Jefferson, he told me to introduce him not as Marvin Aday, but as ‘Meat Loaf. Or Meat,’” Wilonsky says.
Aday was also inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2012.
According to Variety, also in 2012, the singer purchased a nearly $1.5 million home just west of Austin.
“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 post from his family said. “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!”
He’s survived by Deborah Gillespie, his wife since 2007, and daughters Pearl and Amanda Aday.