Meat Loaf has died aged 74 after falling “seriously ill” with Covid, it has been reported.
The US singer passed away on Thursday night after falling ill with the virus. He also had a long history of asthma attacks.
It is not known if Meat Loaf was vaccinated against the disease but he had previously said he would “rather die” than face lockdown.
Sources have reportedly told TMZ the singer cancelled a business dinner for a new TV show he was due to be part of earlier this week after becoming seriously ill with Covid.
In an interview last year Meat Loaf said he would rather die than be controlled when discussing the virus.
He also described face masks as a “nuisance” and said he was happy to hug people “in the middle of Covid”.
Asked if he was scared of Covid by a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Meat Loaf replied: “Oh, I’m scared to death! You kidding me? But I’m sorry, I understood stopping life for a little while, but they cannot continue to stop life because of politics. And right now they’re stopping because of politics.
“And on CNN last night, it finally came out that the masks we’re all wearing are useless. But I’ve known that for six months. They don’t do anything. They don’t stop you from getting Covid. They’re just a nuisance and make your nose itch and make it so you can’t breathe.”
A statement on the singer’s Facebook page read: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side.
“Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.
“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 star, born Michael Lee Aday, gained worldwide fame with his debut 1977 rock album, Bat Out of Hell. Successive albums, which formed a Bat Out of Hell trilogy, propelled the rocker into one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
The rockstar’s hits included Paradise by the Dashboard Light, You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth, and I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).
‘A larger than life character’
Meat Loaf’s official cause of death has not been confirmed. He had suffered from a range of health issues including asthma and a medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White, which causes an irregular heartbeat. He underwent surgery for the condition in 2003 in London.
Tributes have poured in for the legendary musician, whose records earned him a Brit award in 1994 for best-selling album and single.
Singer Bonnie Tyler said she was “shocked and saddened".
“He was, as you might imagine, a larger than life character with a voice & stage presence to match & is one of those rare people who truly was a one off talent and personality. Rest In Peace".
Bat Out of Hell: The Musical has paid tribute and said Friday night's show at the New Wimbledon Theatre will be performed in his memory.
A statement from the production said: "The company of Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell The Musical here in the UK is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their great friend and producer, Meat Loaf.
"He was with us when the show first launched in London at the Coliseum and in Manchester at the Opera House back in 2016 and then came to the show at the Dominion Theatre in London on 25 July 2018."
It added: "The beat is yours forever."
Andrew Lloyd Webber said the "vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock" following the death of Meat Loaf.
"RIP Meatloaf. Give my best to Jim (Steinman)."
Broadcaster Piers Morgan said: “One of rock music’s all-time great characters whose seminal iconic album Bat Out Of Hell is one of the biggest-selling records in history.
“A wondrously talented, flamboyant, funny, outrageous and rebellious chameleon”.
Sky News’ Kay Burley added: “Very sad news that Meatloaf has died. ‘I’d do anything for love’ was a massive hit in 1993, reached Number one in 28 countries and was a firm favourite in our house”.
Meanwhile actor Stephen Fry said: “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf. Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century."
Before winning widespread acclaim for his music, Meat Loaf won the parts of Eddie and Dr Scott in a stage production of cult classic, the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
He reprised the role of Eddie in the 1975 movie, starring alongside Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon.
The singer had previously spoken openly about health issues that had affected him, notably asthma, which caused him to collapse on stage during a concert in Pittsburgh in 2011.