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Cardiacs' Tim Smith Has Died, Aged 59
Christian Eede , July 22nd, 2020 09:12

The group had been on an indefinite hiatus since he developed the neurological disorder dystonia after a heart attack in 2008

Tim Smith, frontman and co-founder of Cardiacs, has died, aged 59.

The news was confirmed to The Guardian by his bandmate Kavus Torabi, while another band representative said Smith "passed away peacefully [Tuesday] night around 10.30pm."

Smith had taken a step back from making and playing music since developing the rare neurological disorder dystonia in 2008, as a result of hypoxic brain damage from a heart attack. The condition impaired his dexterity and ability to speak, and also caused painful muscle spasms, as a lengthy statement shared via Cardiacs' website in 2018 outlined.

Mary Wren, from Cardiacs' label Alphabet Business Concern, said in a statement: "His fans adored him. He changed people for the better. He saved lives. His music was a refuge for those in need and he never locked his door or turned anyone away. I feel as if church bells across the land should be ringing out his name.

"Despite the struggles Tim faced over the last 12 years, we all somehow felt he would never leave us. This is, in part, because he looked at death square in the face, with his good and true eye, so many times and won... At this time, we are comforted by the fact that he left us quietly, albeit suddenly."

Born in Surrey in July 1961, Smith formed the band that would become Cardiacs in 1977, with his brother, Jim Smith, on bass guitar and backing vocals, Michael Pugh on lead vocals, and Peter Tagg on drums. He originally took on guitar and backing vocal duties in the group, later becoming the frontman after Pugh and Tagg left the project. The group went through a number of name changes, including Cardiac Arrest, before settling on Cardiacs around 1980.

As part of Cardiacs, Smith released eight studio albums, as well as a number of live albums, compilation albums and singles between 1980 and 2007. The band went through a number of line-up changes over the course of their first three decades, with Tim and Jim remaining the sole constant members. Their work was cited as a key influence by acts such as Radiohead, Blur, Napalm Death, JG Thirlwell, and Faith No More.

Cardiacs had been on indefinite hiatus since Smith's 2008 hospitalisation. Smith spoke to tQ in late 2017 about the frustrations caused by his severe illness.

The Quietus would like to offer our sincere condolences to Tim's family and friends.

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