Reports have emerged that Mark Hollis, lead singer and co-founder of the band Talk Talk, has died. He was 64.
Although the news has yet to be confirmed by official sources, it has been reported through various news publications and, on Monday (25 February) Hollis’ cousin-in-law Anthony Costello tweeted: “RIP Mark Hollis. Cousin-in-law. Wonderful husband and father. Fascinating and principled man. Retired from the music business 20 years ago but an indefinable musical icon.”
Hollis was the creative force behind the group Talk Talk, co-founding the band in 1981 alongside Lee Harris and Paul Webb. They had a string of hit singles throughout the 1980s, including It’s My Life, Today, Such a Shame and Life’s What You Make It. Their 1988 album, Spirit of Eden, is widely held up as their masterpiece and considered the precursor to the post-rock genre.
Talk Talk’s bassist Paul Webb took to Facebook to pay tribute to the singer, writing: “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” he wrote. “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced and by his trailblazing musical ideas.”
Tributes to Hollis have poured in from artists and fans, including Foals’ Yannis Philippakis, who wrote: “I always wanted to meet Mark Hollis & say thank you for his music. Hope he knew how much he meant to so many of us. R.I.P.”
Matt Johnson, of fellow 80s outliers The The, also paid his respect on Twitter. “Very sorry to hear the news that Mark Hollis of Talk Talk has died. He was behind some of the finest albums of the 1980s/early 1990s. R.I.P.”
Update: Hollis’ longtime manager, Keith Aspden, confirms the news of his death today (26 February) to NPR. Read the confirmation below.
Hollis’ longtime manager Keith Aspden confirmed Tuesday that Hollis died after a short illness: “I can’t tell you how much Mark influenced and changed my perceptions on art and music. I’m grateful for the time I spent with him and for the gentle beauty he shared with us.”
— NPR Music (@nprmusic) February 26, 2019