The musician, a founding member of The Fall, died at home this morning.His partner, Pam Van Damned, who is also the band's manager, said in a statement: "It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E Smith."He passed this morning at home."A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days."In the meantime, Pam & Mark's family request privacy at this sad time."Last year the band were forced to cancel a string of shows due to Smith's health.
Born into a working-class family in Broughton, Salford, on March 5 1957, Smith grew up in Prestwich.He first found work in a meat factory and then as a shipping clerk on the Manchester docks where on his lunch breaks he would write music.In 1976 he quit the docks for The Fall after attending a Sex Pistols Gig.He was, in his own words, inspired because "whatever I did would have to be better than most of the so-called punk s**** I was hearing at the time".He launched the band alongside friends Martin Bramah, Tony Friel and Una Baines - who missed their first gig as she could not afford a keyboard.Their first two albums, Live At The Witch Trials and Dragnet, arrived in 1979.The former came as a whirlwind punk record while the latter lost the aggression of Bramah's guitar as he became an early member of The Fallen club (although he returned in 1989).It was an important reshuffle as former bassist Marc Riley's foreboding sound is largely present in their continuing sound.Married three times, he first tied the knot in July 1983 with Brix Smith who instantly became a band member.After their divorce he was briefly married to Safron Pryor - who had run the band's fan club - during the Nineties before meeting Elena Poulou in Berlin in December 2000.She joined The Fall as keyboardist in 2002.