Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis dies aged 64

“He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”

Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis has died aged 64 after a short illness, his manager Keith Aspden has confirmed in a statement to NPR.

Hollis’s cousin-in-law Anthony Costello broke the news in a tweet on Monday night, saying: “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 musical icon.”

Talk Talk formed in 1981, and established themselves with early singles such as ‘Talk Talk’, ‘It’s My Life’ and ‘Such a Shame’, which performed modestly in the UK but achieved greater commercial success in mainland Europe.

In 1986, the band released The Colour of Spring, an album that moved away from their synthpop roots and paved the way for 1988’s Spirit of Eden, a highly experimental album that drew from jazz, impressionism and rock. The album was a critical success, but a commercial flop. Despite its failure in the eyes of the band’s label EMI, Spirit of Eden, and its 1991 follow-up, Laughing Stock, have since achieved a cult following. The band’s later work is often credited as the beginnings of the post-rock genre.

Talk Talk split shortly after the release of Laughing Stock and Hollis released just one self-titled solo album in 1998, retiring from music afterwards.

In an Instagram tribute, Talk Talk’s former bassist Paul Webb (aka Rustin Man) said: “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”

Read next: The 30 best post-rock albums of all time

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