Adam Schlesinger death: Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter dies from coronavirus

2 April 2020, 14:42

Schlesinger earned an Oscar nomination in 1997
Schlesinger earned an Oscar nomination in 1997. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Adam Schlesinger from US rock band Fountains Of Wayne has died at the age of 52 after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

The award-winning singer-songwriter died on Wednesday morning, Variety reports.

A statement from his family on Tuesday said he was in hospital in New York fighting Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

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Chris Carrabba, from the band Dashboard Confessional, confirmed his death.

He tweeted: "I am grasping for the right words. My dear friend Adam Schlesinger has passed away from Covid-19.

"I knew him best as a mentor, and a friend. We must take this seriously. People are sick and dying. It is hard to stay locked indoors but lives will be saved.

"Take care of each other. Rest In Peace, my dear friend."

Schlesinger earned an Oscar nomination in 1997 for writing the title track on That Thing You Do!, a musical comedy directed by Tom Hanks.

Hanks - who also tested positive for coronavirus - paid tribute on Twitter and said he would not have launched his Playtone record label and production company without Schlesinger's help.

He said: "He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today. Hanx."

Aline Brosh McKenna co-created TV musical comedy-drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which Schlesinger wrote songs for.

She paid tribute on Twitter, saying she had known Schlesinger since the early 1990s, saying: "Adam was so funny, so kind, so opinionated, so clever, so passionate. We worked together and agreed and disagreed and rejoiced and bemoaned and celebrated and it felt extra sweet for me because I'd known him so long.

"I love that guy. I love all the memories."

McKenna also shared a song he sent to her and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom.

Musicians who had worked with Schlesinger paid tribute. Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins said he was "really sweet and beyond talented".

She tweeted: "I'm heartbroken to hear about Adam Schlesinger's passing. He was one of the 1st people I ever co-wrote a song with and we went on the road with Fountains of Wayne back in the day. He was really sweet and beyond talented. My heart goes out to his family and bandmates."

Acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren said: "RIP Adam Schlesinger. Love and prayers to his family. Thank U for the songs."

Schlesinger was divorced and is survived by his two daughters. He was best known as the bass player and co-songwriter of Fountains Of Wayne, the power-pop band whose hits included Stacy's Mom and Hey Julie.

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Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne performs at John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders concert
Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne performs at John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders concert. Picture: Getty

They formed in New Jersey in 1995 and were named after a lawn ornament store in the state.

Over his career, Schlesinger earned nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, Tonys, Grammys and Emmys, winning the latter two.

In 2019 he won the Emmy for outstanding original music and lyrics for Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal from TV musical drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

It was one of his three Emmy wins. Schlesinger won a Grammy in 2009 for his work on A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All!

The White House has projected tens of thousands of Americans are likely to be killed by the disease.