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Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis dead at 64

Mark Hollis (Image credit: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)

Story updated at 2.30pm on February 26.

Former Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis has died at the age of 64.

Anthony Costello, a relation of Hollis, broke the news: “RIP Mark Hollis. Cousin-in-law. Wonderful husband and father. Fascinating and principled man.

“Retired from the music business 20 years ago but an indefinable music icon.”

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Hollis’ former manager Keith Aspden later told the BBC (opens in new tab): “Sadly it’s true. Mark has died after a short illness from which he never recovered.

He added: “I can't tell you how much Mark influenced and changed my perceptions on art and music. I'm grateful for the time I spent with him and for the gentle beauty he shared with us."

On Facebook, former Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb (aka Rustin Man) said: “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis. Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him.”

Video director Tim Pope, who worked with Talk Talk on several music videos, tweeted: “Goodbye to Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Condolences to his lovely family. We had many, many laughs together.”

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Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator paid tribute, calling Hollis "a co-tunneller under the surface of what pop music might mean".

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Gary Kemp, bassist with Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets also paid tribute to Hollis, saying on Twitter: "Been re-listening to Mark Hollis’s dream-soaked Spirit Of Eden today. 

"His influence upon music was immense and far reaching. A great presence in the modern era who took his bow far too early but has left us so much still to be moved by."

Hollis formed Talk Talk in 1981. After early synth-pop hits such as It's My Life, they began to branch out in different directions, releasing the classic albums Colour Of Spring and Spirit Of Eden.

Hollis split the band shortly after launching the hugely influential Laughing Stock album in 1991. He released a self-titled solo album in 1998, but effectively retired from music after that.

It's Prog Jim But Not As We Know It: Mark Hollis

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Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.