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Meat Loaf tributes pour in as fans remember ‘rare and rather wonderful’ showman, ‘rebellious chameleon’

Meat Loaf, whose given name was Marvin Lee Aday and was a renown rock musician and actor, died Jan. 20 at age 74. (Video: John Farrell/The Washington Post)
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Entertainers around the world paid tribute to rock star Meat Loaf on Friday after his family announced his death, hailing him as a “legend,” a “tremendous talent” and a “softie.”

“What a tremendous talent gone way too soon,” tweeted country singer Travis Tritt. “He was also one of the nicest people anyone could ever want to know. This world is a little less bright without him in it. #RIPMeat”

Meat Loaf, whose given name was Marvin Lee Aday, died at 74 surrounded by his wife, daughters and close friends, according to a statement on his official Facebook page. The cause was not disclosed.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” the statement said.

In his six-decade career, Meat Loaf sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. His 1977 breakthrough, “Bat Out of Hell,” made him a household name and remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

Singer and actor Meat Loaf dies at 74, family says

Among those sending testimonials for Meat Loaf on Friday was American actress Marlee Matlin, who said she was heartbroken.

“He was passionate. A softie. Kind. And talented as hell. And he was my friend,” Matlin wrote.

Pop singer Cher recalled on Twitter that she “Had So Much Fun With Meatloaf” when they recorded the 1981 song “Dead Ringer for Love” together for his second album. Cher appeared in the single’s music video, which features the pair singing to each other in a bar.

British comedian and author Stephen Fry also remembered collaborating with the rock star.

“I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf,” he tweeted, referencing Meat Loaf’s 1977 single “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” “Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century … he had the quality of being simultaneously frightening and cuddly, which is rare and rather wonderful.”

Boy George, British lead singer of Culture Club, recalled that Meat Loaf “once turned me upside down in a Chinese Restaurant” in London, without offering more details.

“Love and prayers to all his family and close friends,” he wrote.

Known for his flamboyant performances and theatrical vocal style, Dallas-born Meat Loaf created a persona that fans remember fondly. They took to social media to recount what the star meant to them — on and off the stage.

“RIP to a legend & the kindest guy around,” wrote Jen Carlson, an editor at New York news outlets Gothamist and WNYC. “When my high school faced budget cuts and our softball team had no coach, Meat Loaf rearranged his schedule to coach us — he declined the stipend, offered to do a benefit concert … and even drove me home some days.”

“I don’t think anyone approached music quite like Meat — a new album basically meant a new musical theater piece and cinematic experience,” Carlson added. “He was a performer.”

Others recounted his lively performances.

Theatrical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber noted: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock. RIP Meatloaf.”

Journalist Piers Morgan called Meat Loaf “one of rock music’s all-time great characters” and hailed his “seminal” “Bat Out of Hell” album. “A wondrously talented, flamboyant, funny, outrageous and rebellious chameleon. Sad news,” Morgan wrote.

Some lamented that the mystery of “that” would never be uncovered, pointing to the lyrics of his song, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Others took a more lighthearted approach, sharing quotes from the singer and popular memes.

His family asked for privacy but sent a message to fans: “From his heart to your souls … don’t ever stop rocking!”

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