Mark E Smith: family reveal cause of death

The Fall singer and frontman, who died last month, was being treated for terminal lung and kidney cancer

A collection of some of the hits from Mark E Smith's prolific band, The Fall.


Mark E Smith died of lung and kidney cancer, his family have disclosed. In a statement on the Fall’s website, Smith’s younger sisters Barbara, Suzanne and Caroline thanked family, friends and fans for the tribute to the punk frontman, who died on January 24th. They also paid tribute to the NHS and Smith’s partner, Pam.

“Mark fought a long and hard battle after his diagnosis of terminal lung and kidney cancer,” they wrote. “He took every treatment going, which could be brutal at times and left Mark with some horrible side effects. Mark was such a strong man [who] hated letting his fans down and tried to carry on regardless, against all advice.”

Smith continued to tour with the Fall during his illness, giving his final performance in Wakefield in October. Last year, they released their 32nd album, New Facts Emerge.

Smith formed the Fall in 1976 in Prestwich and was the only constant member of the band. He was known for his tempestuous relationship with bandmates: there were 66 different members over the years, with a third of them lasting less than a year. Smith famously once said: “If it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s the Fall.”

The vast number of tributes in response to Smith’s passing spoke to his musical, literary and spiritual influence on several generations of artists and thinkers. His ex-wife, Brix Smith Start, said: “He shook up the snow globe every day of his life.” Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis, who signed the band in 1980, said: “He deserves to be celebrated for his genius use of language and for devising a method of delivery that was completely singular.” – Guardian Service