Tim Smith, the lead singer of The Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59.
The leader of the influential cult group had experienced ill health since suffering a heart attack in 2008, which caused him to develop the rare neurological disorder dystonia.
Mary Wren, manager of The Cardiacs’ record label Alphabet Business Concern, issued a statement earlier today (July 22) in which she said Smith passed away “suddenly”.
His exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
“Despite the struggles Tim faced over the last 12 years, we all somehow felt he would never leave us,” Wren wrote.
“This is, in part, because he looked at death square in the face, with his good and true eye, so many times and won. It was also wishful thinking, though, because we knew the abyss-like hole he would leave in all our lives.
“At this time, we are comforted by the fact that he left us quietly, albeit suddenly, and that no monsters got their filthy claws in him while we weren’t looking – when we were looking, they didn’t stand a chance.”
Tim, who was born in Surrey in 1961, formed his band in 1977 alongside his brother James ‘Jim’ Smith, Michael Pugh and Peter Tagg.
He recorded his first album under the band name Cardiac Arrest, which they later decided to change.
They went on to release nine albums, with their most recent coming in 1999’s ‘Guns’. A stand-alone single, ‘Ditzy Scene’, was released in 2007.
After suffering a heart attack in 2008, Smith suffered brain damage and developed the rare neurological disorder dystonia, prompting him to retire from live performances.
Smith previously outlined his health struggles to The Quietus, explaining: “Some days I can cope with it, if I’m mentally able to. I’ve not even told the kids which I’m pretty ashamed of and all I can say is that I’m sorry. I had no idea how much I actually meant to all these incredible people and have been trying to know what they mean to me.
Incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Cardiacs' Tim Smith. A unique musical mind, a wonderful man. What a shit day. But he'll always be the dazzling light at the centre of a huge musical family. 💙
— Rhodri Marsden (@rhodri) July 22, 2020
“The only way I can try and let you know how I feel at the moment is… imagine if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit made of fishnet all around you with electrical pulses going all the time. This is what my body feels like unless I fall asleep. This I have called my digital pain and bashing my head or something what hurts loads or any sort of normal pain, like toothache, I call analogue. Also, I can’t write or hold a pen or use a computer.”
Paying tribute, TV host Matthew Wright said: “Just been told Tim Smith of Cardiacs fame is no longer with us. He’s singing to god in person I guess. My deepest condolences to his loved ones, his many friends and countless fans. A sad day for music.”
Writer Rhodri Marsden added: “Incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Cardiacs’ Tim Smith. A unique musical mind, a wonderful man. What a shit day. But he’ll always be the dazzling light at the centre of a huge musical family.”