Singer collapse onstage in Italy, an obituary for a unique talent...

Morphine singer Mark Sandman collapsed two numbers into the band’s set at a festival outside Rome on Saturday night. The 47 year old singer collapsed in front of several thousand fans at the concert and was rushed to hospital; a doctor tried to revive him but he was dead on arrival.

Morphine emerged from Boston in the early 90s and their guitar-less sound attracted them a cult following. The band signed to Rykodisc, the label formed by legendary 60s producer Joe Boyd and released three albums, though it was their second – ‘Cure For Pain’ – that really attracted the critics. Sandman‘s voice was as un-rock and roll as you could get, sounding closer to the narrator of a 40s hardboiled detective film noir; lyrically, his subject matter was closer to pulp writers like Jim Thompson than Bob Dylan.

The band signed to Dreamworks, but recent album ‘Like Swimming’ took some critical flack for retreading the same ground as previous work.

The future of Morphine is undecided – they were set for UK dates this month – though it’s unlikely that they will survive Sandman‘s death.