'Heaven will be ringing with rock': Tributes to Meat Loaf, 74, who dies 'with Covid'

21 January 2022, 08:01 | Updated: 21 January 2022, 20:14

Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74.
Meat Loaf has died at the age of 74. Picture: Alamy/Facebook

By Sophie Barnett

Tributes have poured in for legendary singer Meat Loaf after he died aged 74, reportedly after becoming ill with Covid-19.

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Boy George and Cher are among those who have shared memories and tributes to the Bat Out Of Hell singer.

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber led tributes, saying the "vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock".

"RIP Meatloaf," he added.

"Give my best to Jim (Steinman)."

Boy George shared his story of when Meat Loaf turned him "upside down" in a Chinese restaurant in St John's Wood.

"R.I.P Meatloaf," he wrote.

"Love and prayers to all his family and close friends."

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The award-winning singer's death was announced in an emotional statement by his longtime agent Michael Greene.

Mr Greene did not give a cause of death, but TMZ reported that the legendary rocker had died after becoming "seriously ill with Covid" - and have also reported he was against vaccine mandates, although both are yet to be confirmed.

Numerous reports have also said the singer was against lockdowns and masks, despite being "scared to death" of Covid.

His Covid vaccination status has not been made public.

The family's official statement read: "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 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including “Fight Club”, “Focus”, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Wayne’s World.”

Singer-songwriter Meat Loaf in New York in 2019.
Singer-songwriter Meat Loaf in New York in 2019. Picture: Getty

"'Bat Out of Hell' remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

"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!"

The singer sold millions of albums worldwide, with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

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".

Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side....

Posted by Meat Loaf on Thursday, January 20, 2022

His most notable film roles include Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Bob Paulson in Fight Club.

His early stage work included dual roles in the original cast of The Rocky Horror Show, and he was also in the musical Hair, both on and off Broadway.

Meat Loaf was plagued by health issues, including asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011.

He suffered from a medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White, which causes an irregular heartbeat, and underwent surgery in 2003 in London.

Following the loss, many have been looking back at memorable moments from the legendary singer's life - including the time he attempted to push Prince Andrew into a moat.

Meat Loaf previously opened up about the incident, which happened in 1987, during an interview with The Guardian.

It happened on It's a Royal Knockout, the one-off charity event where celebrities and members of the Royal Family competed in a range of games and raised money for charity.

Meat Loaf was on Sarah Ferguson's team, who he claimed paid him "lots of attention".

He told The Guardian: "Fergie wasn't exactly flirting with me, but she was paying attention to me, and I think Andrew got a little - I could be wrong, I'm just reading into this - I think he got a little jealous... Anyway, he tried to push me in the water. He tried to push me in the moat.

"So I turned around and I grabbed him and he goes, 'You can't touch me. I'm royal.' I said, 'well you try to push me in the moat, Jack, I don't give a s**t who you are, you're goin' in the moat.'"

Singer Cher said she had "so much fun" with Meat Loaf when she worked with him on his 1981 album Dead Ringer.

In a tribute posted to Twitter, she added: "Am Very Sorry For His Family, Friends, & Fans.

"Am I imagining It, or Are Amazing Ppl In The Arts Dying every other Day."

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin said her heart is "broken into a million pieces" at the singer's death.

Matlin, who won an Oscar for her role in the 1986 film Children Of A Lesser God, shared a photo with the Bat Out Of Hell singer on Twitter.

She wrote: "He was passionate. A softie. Kind. And talented as hell. And he was my friend.

"My heart is broken into a million pieces. RIP my friend, Meat Loaf."

Queen's Brian May has remembered Meat Loaf saying he is "completely gutted" that the singer "has left us".

Alongside a picture of himself and Meat Loaf on Instagram, May wrote: "Remembering great times. Completely gutted that Meat Loaf has left us. Always full of madness, with the innocent sense of naughtiness of a 5-year old, Meat was forever young.

"I called him Mr Loaf, and he called me when he wanted some wacky guitar playing. We had so much fun so many times, and, just three months younger than me, he felt like a brother. Dear Meat, the world is mourning and will miss your fine and powerful presence for a very long time. RIP. Bri."

Tonight's show of Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, at the New Wimbledon Theatre, will be performed in his memory.

A statement from the production said: "The company of Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell The Musical here in the UK is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their great friend and producer, Meat Loaf.

"He was with us when the show first launched in London at the Coliseum and in Manchester at the Opera House back in 2016 and then came to the show at the Dominion Theatre in London on 25 July 2018."

It added: "The beat is yours forever."

Singer Bonnie Tyler said she is "shocked and saddened" by the icon's death.

She wrote in a tweet: "I am shocked & saddened by the sudden death of Meat Loaf.

"He was, as you might imagine, a larger than life character with a voice & stage presence to match & is one of those rare people who truly was a one off talent and personality. Rest In Peace".

English singer Nik Kershaw has also written a tribute to "sweet, funny" Meat Loaf.

He said in a tweet: "Proper sad to hear this. I got to hang out with him for a while in Australia.

"Larger than life character and true force of nature obviously. But also a sweet, funny and gentle man.

"Rest easy fella."

Stephen Fry said he hopes "paradise is as you [Meat Loaf] remember it from the dashboard light".

The actor said in a tweet: "Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century."

Meat Loaf during a concert, circa 1992.
Meat Loaf during a concert, circa 1992. Picture: Alamy

Piers Morgan described the singer as "one of rock music's all-time great characters".

"A wondrously talented, flamboyant, funny, outrageous and rebellious chameleon," he said.

His voice was described as "extraordinary" by BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley.

She wrote in a tweet: "God I loved Bat Out of Hell. Soundtrack to my youth. Sad news RIP Meatloaf.

"Extraordinary voice. Phenomenonal (sic) character."