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Mark Hollis dead: Talk Talk frontman dies at 64

Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis, portrait, London, United Kingdom, 1990. Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Mark Hollis, former Talk Talk frontman, died Monday. He was 64.

The musician was best-known as the lead singer, guitarist, pianist and primary songwriter of the highly-successful English new wave band. Talk Talk released five studio albums within their 10-year timeline, including 1984’s It’s My Life and Spirit of Eden (1988).

Talk Talk also released a number of worldwide hits in their prime, including the It’s My Life single, Life’s What You Make it and Such a Shame. Since their inception, the four-piece sold millions of records across the globe.

Hollis’ passing was confirmed by his former manager Keith Aspden, on Tuesday morning, according to The Associated Press. Hollis reportedly died as a result of a “short illness, from which he never recovered.”

Aspden called the singer a “gentle beauty” who “remained true to himself throughout his life.”

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WATCH: Talk Talk’s biggest hit music video, It’s My Life (1984) 

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Former bandmate and Talk Talk bassist, Paul Webb, posted a tribute to Hollis on his band’s — Rustin Man — Facebook page.

“I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” he wrote. “Musically he was a genius. It was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him.”

Webb, 57, revealed he had not seen Hollis in a number of years, “but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas.”

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“He knew how to create a depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”

A number of other musicians and fans inspired by Hollis and the music of Talk Talk took to Twitter to share their gratitude and sorrows.

As of this writing, former Talk Talk drummer, Lee Harris, has not publicly commented on Hollis’ passing.

Along with former keyboardist Simon Brenner, it is unknown if the remaining members of Talk Talk are active on social media.

Following the disbandment of Talk Talk in 1991, Harris and Webb went on to create their own band, O.rang, before splitting up in 1996.

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Talk Talk, 1982. (L-R) keyboard player Simon Brenner, singer Mark Hollis, drummer Lee Harris and bassist Paul Webb. Michael Putland/Getty Images

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Laughing Stock (1991) was Talk Talk’s final record. Hollis’ decision to leave the band resulted in their breakup. He later admitted he wanted to focus on his family.

Hollis came back in 1998 as a solo act. He released his only solo album, which was entitled Mark Hollis. The sounds resembled that of the latter-day Talk Talk sound.

Despite releasing no singles, the album received raving reviews. Shortly after its release, Hollis retired from the music industry altogether.

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Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis, portrait, London, United Kingdom, 1990. Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

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Hollis dropped off of the public radar after his retirement. It’s expected that he spent the remaining years of his life surrounded by his family.

Hollis is survived by his longtime wife and two children.

— With files from The Associated Press

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca
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