Meat Loaf, the singer who would do (almost) anything for love, has died. The 74-year-old's family announced in a statement early Friday morning that the larger-than-life singer, whose rock opera Bat Out of Hell is one of the best-selling albums of all time, passed away Thursday.
"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," that statement on his verified Facebook reads, in part. "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 acknowledged physical problems that affected his ability to perform. In November, he posted on Facebook that he'd had four back surgeries and would be back in the studio in the new year. "The back surgeries hurt everything. Before the back surgeries I was still trying to do shows, that's when some of you saw or heard of me collapsing on stage and finally stopping the tour in the UK. I couldn't hit high notes because of back pain. Not a slight back pain. Pain that would bring you to your knees," he wrote. He collapsed at a concert in the Canadian city of Edmonton and was admitted to a hospital for dehydration, a spokesperson said at the time.
Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas in 1947, Meat Loaf began acting and singing in school productions, moving to Los Angeles after his mother's death in 1965. There, he spent his time pursuing careers in acting and music, which included a brief stint recording for Motown. He also opened for touring bands including The Who and the Grateful Dead.
In 1971 he was cast in an L.A. production of Hair, later joining the original L.A. Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show in 1973. Two years later he reprised his role as Eddie in the 1975 film adaptation, one of the most beloved cult films of all time.
His big break in music came with his album Bat Out of Hell in 1977, which to this date has sold over 43 million copies worldwide and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry of America no less than 14 times. Meat Loaf's longtime collaborator and songwriter, Jim Steinman, who wrote all of the songs on Bat Out of Hell, died last year.
The album featured many of Meat Loaf's most recognizable songs – "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," for example. In "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," he sang a duet with Ellen Foley with a colorful mock play-by-play analysis by Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto.
Meat Loaf's long-spanning career included 11 more albums, including two sequels to Bat Out of Hell. He sold more than 80 million albums over the course of his music career. He also won a Grammy in 1993 for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the song "I'd Do Anything for Love." His successful acting career saw him nab roles in movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spice World, Fight Club and Wayne's World.