Tim Smith, frontman for the British cult rock band Cardiacs, died on Wednesday, July 22.
According to British publication The Guardian, bandmate and Cardiacs guitarist Kavus Torabi confirmed the sad news. However, no cause of death has been made available as of presstime.
On Facebook, the Cardiacs' page shared the lyrics to Heaven Haven by The Sea Nymphs. The song was also written by Smith. "I have desired to go/Where springs not fail/To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail/And a few lilies blow."
Condolences and messages to the late frontman have been flooding social media platforms, often accompanied by the hashtag #TimSmith and #Cardiacs
One fan wrote on Twitter: "Genuinely heartbroken - been weeping like a baby since reading this. Rest in fadeless splendour Tim, and thank you for the endless magic, comfort and inspiration."
Another fan recalled being in the Cardiacs' live shows. "I used to sell Cardiacs merch at their gigs in the early 90s. Watching them play live was thrilling beyond words: theatrical, all-consuming and so joyful," the Twitter user wrote. She then remembered Tim as "a genius. Great hugger. F**king funny."
Tim Smith's longtime medical battle
Tim Smith has previously suffered from a heart attack and stroke back in 2008. He was forced to undergo an extended rehabilitation. Later, a cardiac arrest episode cut the musician's oxygen supply to the brain and left Smith with dystonia. His muscles experience contract without him being able to control its actions.
Since his cardiac arrest and stroke episode in 2008, the band has been put on an indefinite hiatus. All band-related releases and planned appearances at the time were all put on hold until further notice. While good news was posted on the band's website by 2009, Kavus Torabi confirmed in August 2010 that the Cardiacs' frontman could never perform live again.
In 2018, a fundraiser was set up for his benefit. It said that his dystonia "has affected Tim's movement, his dexterity, his ability to speak, and it has added painful muscle tone and spasms that are a permanent feature of his life these days." The fundraiser initially looks to raise £40,000 to support the frontman's medical needs. In the long run, it aims to move Smith back to a smaller, more affordable caretaking package.
In an interview, Tim Smith himself described his condition. "Imagine if you were wearing a skintight bodysuit made of fishnet all around you, with electrical pulses going all the time." He added that this is how he feels unless he falls asleep.
The Cardiacs co-founder
Tim Smith first formed a rock band with his brother Jim in 1977. It was first called the Filth, then Cardiac Arrest. The early Cardiacs released their debut single "A Bus for a Bus on the Bus" in 1979 under Tortch Records. They performed under this name up until 1980.
Later in the year, they released a self-produced cassette, "The Obvious Identity," and soon renamed the group. In April 1981, they held their first concert under the new name, "Cardiacs." Since then, the band has released eight more studio albums, with the last being 1999's "Guns."
The variety of their works have led to musically diverse influences in later bands. In a 2014 article, the Cardiacs have been cited as an influence for British acts Blur, Radiohead, Faith No More, Napalm Death, and more.