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US singer Meat Loaf, who was known for hits including Bat Out Of Hell, has died at the age of 74 after selling more than 100million albums worldwide and starring in 65 movies - with reports suggesting he contracted Covid-19.
Sources told TMZ that Meat Loaf was supposed to be attending a business dinner this week for a reality TV show he was involved with called 'I'd Do Anything for Love…But I Won't Do That', named after his song, but it was cancelled after he 'became seriously ill' with coronavirus.
TMZ also claimed he had been 'outspoken about Covid, railing with folks in Australia recently about vaccine mandates'. It is not known whether the singer was vaccinated.
The singer, who was born Marvin Lee Aday, died with his wife Deborah at his side - and while no cause or other details were given by his family, he had suffered numerous health scares over the years. Meat Loaf had an extraordinary career over six decades with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.
His hits included the near ten-minute title track from Bat Out Of Hell, Paradise By The Dashboard Light from the same album, and I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) from 1993 album Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell.
The single I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) reached number one in 28 countries and earned him a Grammy award. The rocker also played the role of Eddie in the 1975 musical film The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Among those paying tribute to Meat Loaf today were singer Cher, who said she had 'so much fun' when she worked with him, and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber who said the 'vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock'.
In 2016 he was honoured with the Hero Award at the annual Q Awards music ceremony, which he dedicated to everyday heroes and called on people to 'bring love back into this world'. His career spanned more than just music, with the musician also featured in a string of films including 1999's Fight Club and 1992's Wayne's World.
Bat Out Of Hell was also adapted as a stage musical, which premiered in Manchester in 2017 after being written by long-time collaborator Jim Steinman and featured some of the star's best loved hits. It is currently on a UK tour.
Meat Loaf had spoken openly about health issues that had plagued him, notably asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011, and in 2003 he collapsed at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital. He later held a press conference in Kensington to reassure fans about his health. Then, following an on-stage collapse in Canada in 2016, a statement said it was due to 'severe dehydration'.
Born in Dallas in 1947, Meat Loaf found early success on the stage in the 1970s, performing in the Broadway musicals Hair and The Rocky Horror Show - before he switched focus to rock music around 1972.
Meat Loaf started collaborating with Mr Steinman - who died last April - on a debut album that year which showcased his powerful voice and established his leather-clad, motorcycle-riding rock persona.
The singer will be best remembered for famously singing in Bat Out Of Hell: 'Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes; When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone, gone, gone.'
He is survived by his wife Deborah Gillespie - who is from Canada and married him in 2007 - and by daughters Pearl Aday, a singer who went on tour with him; and Amanda Aday, an actress from the HBO series Carnivale.
He had both children with his first wife Leslie Edmonds, whom he met when she was working as a secretary at Bearsville Studios - and they were married from 1978 to 2001. Pearl is married to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian.
The alleged origins of his stage name range from his weight to a favourite recipe of his mother's – and he renamed himself Michael Lee Aday in 1984 after a Levi's TV advert referred to how 'Poor fat Marvin can't wear Levi's.'
The singer also went by the name 'Meat Loaf' off stage - and this was even printed on his passport, but he decided to switch it back to Michael after running into trouble in Germany where he was kept in immigration for six hours.
One of his most famous anecdotes was the claim that he once grabbed Prince Andrew and screamed 'I don't give a s*** who you are' after the two were reportedly involved in a brawl over Sarah Ferguson. He alleged that the Duke of York tried pushing him into a moat while they were filming for the one-off charity event It's a Royal Knockout.
He told the Guardian that at the event in Staffordshire in 1987, he grabbed the royal, who allegedly warned the star about flirting with his then-wife Sarah and told him: 'You can't touch me. I'm royal'. Meat Loaf is reported to have bluntly informed a 'jealous' Andrew: 'I don't give a s*** who you are', before pushing him back.
A statement by Meat Loaf's family posted on the star's Facebook page this morning said: 'Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.
'His amazing career spanned six decades that saw him sell over 100million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne's World. Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top ten selling albums of all time.'
The post added: '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. 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!'
Meat Loaf performs in Las Vegas in October 2013. The American singer has died at the age of 74, his family said today
American singer Meat Loaf sold more than 100million albums worldwide and starred in 65 movies. He is pictured in 1993
Meat Loaf and his wife Deborah at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in February 2008. She was by her husband's side when he died
Prince Charles meets singers including Meat Loaf and Beyonce following 'Party in the Park' at Hyde Park in London in 2003
Meat Loaf and Cher pose with Des Lynam (centre) after they joined him on The Des Lynam Show on BBC Radio 2 in 1998
Meat Loaf (right) with long-time collaborator Jim Steinman (left) in March 1978. Mr Steinman died in April last year
Texas-born Meat Loaf performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York in October 2006. His family said today that he had died