Meat Loaf's Life in Photos

The epic rocker died at the age of 74, his family confirmed on Jan. 21, 2022

01 of 14

Meat Loaf Is Born

Meat Loaf
Michael Putland/Getty

Born in Dallas on Sept. 27, 1947, as Marvin Lee Aday, Meat Loaf fell in love with music at a young age. He got his start in school productions, moving to Los Angeles in his early 20s and quickly finding luck in both the movie and music industries.

As for his uniquely famous stage name, which became his legal name, he told multiple "how it came to be" stories through the years: anything from looking "like nine and a half pounds of ground chuck" when he was born (per the New York Times) to earning the nickname in school for his short, stout stature and his initials (in a 1978 PEOPLE interview).

02 of 14

Meat Loaf in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Meat Loaf life in pictures
Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty

His first big movie moment came in the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as lobotomized rocker Eddie.

03 of 14

Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman

Meat Loaf
Michael Putland/Getty

Meat Loaf connected with musician and producer Jim Steinman in 1973; together they created 1977's ever-popular album Bat Out of Hell, which went Diamond thanks in part to the title track and the beloved single "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

"Our songs are sardonic, operatic, desperate, extreme and really passionate," Steinman told PEOPLE in 1978. "There's something dangerous to it — rock should have a mystic dimension. The fun is going over the edge."

04 of 14

Meat Loaf on Stage

Meat Loaf
Michael Putland/Getty

Meat Loaf quickly became known for his one-of-a-kind stage presence: moving dramatically on stage, giving his all to his epic songs. In a 1978 PEOPLE profile he even spoke of needing oxygen after a series of shows in New York City.

"I didn't even remember going out or coming off [stage]," he said. "I passed out completely." But, he said, "Our show creates a lot of real excitement."

Steinman added: "We looked like the Eagles after a bad day — I mean the Philadelphia Eagles."

05 of 14

Meat Loaf and His First Wife, Leslie Edmonds

Meat Loaf
Staff/Mirrorpix via Getty

Meat Loaf wed Leslie Edmonds in the mid-1970s. She had daughter Pearl from a previous relationship, and in 1981, welcomed daughter Amanda with the rocker.

"People see this big scary guy," Amanda told PEOPLE in 1999. "But he's just a dad." Added Leslie, "We're in bed in time for the news. He's not one of those rock stars who feels he has to live it."

"I was much happier taking a Little League team to 10-0,'' Meat Loaf once told PEOPLE, ''than I was selling 10 million albums.''

Loaf and Leslie split in 2001.

06 of 14

Meat Loaf's Continued Music Career

Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf. Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Loaf went on to release 11 more albums following Bat Out of Hell, several of which went Gold or Platinum. His touring continued, too, with fans eating up his dramatic shows.

The singer frequently talked about his weight and health struggles. In the 1970s, after he strained his voice, he battled depression and alcoholism before staging a comeback in the 1980s.

He also suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White, a condition that caused an irregular heartbeat, according to Rolling Stone, and had several back surgeries and knee surgery in the mid-aughts. A stage collapse in 2016 led him to further open up about some of his ailments.

07 of 14

Meat Loaf's Famous Friends

Meat Loaf
Richard E. Aaron/WireImage

The star hanging with singers Teddy Pendergrass and Debbie Harry in an undated photo. Meat Loaf's musical prowess led him to collaborations and relationships with a host of famous faces, including Cher, Boy George, Jennifer Hudson and songwriter Diane Warren.

08 of 14

Meat Loaf on Broadway

Meat Loaf
Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Though busy with both song and screen, Meat Loaf also picked up roles on and Off-Broadway in the 1970s, in productions like Rainbow and Hair. His Bat Out of Hell and its two sequels even became a show, too, debuting in London in 2017 and later moving to New York City in 2019 (Meat Loaf, at a curtain call in N.Y.C., did not appear in the production).

09 of 14

Meat Loaf Wins a Grammy Award

Meat Loaf life in pictures

Despite his commercial success — Bat Out of Hell remains one of the best-selling albums of all time — Meat Loaf won just one Grammy Award, best solo rock vocal performance in 1994 for "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)."

10 of 14

Meat Loaf in Spice World

Meat Loaf life in pictures

His film credits kept ticking up, though: he appeared in Wayne's World in 1992, Spice World (pictured) in 1997 and Fight Club in 1999, among other big-screen hits.

11 of 14

Meat Loaf and His Second Wife, Deborah Gillespie

Meat Loaf
Meat loaf and Deborah Gillespie. Dennis Clark/Getty

In 2007, Meat Loaf married his second wife, Deborah Gillespie, here with him at a 2002 event in N.Y.C.

12 of 14

Meat Loaf on The Celebrity Apprentice

Meat Loaf life in pictures

The star almost made it to the finale of 2011's The Celebrity Apprentice 4, falling behind Marlee Matlin and eventual winner John Rich. Here, he works with costar La Toya Jackson.

13 of 14

Meat Loaf on Monk

Meat Loaf
USA Network

He also dipped his toes in scripted TV, particularly in his later years, appearing on Monk in 2009, Elementary in 2017 and most recently, Ghost Wars from 2017 to 2018.

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Meat Loaf's Later Years

Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf. Cameron Richardson/Newspix/Getty

Meat Loaf continued working through 2021, appearing most recently on Eli Roth's History of Horror after releasing his final album, Braver Than We Are, in 2016.

On Jan. 21, 2022, PEOPLE confirmed the singer had died at the age of 74.

"Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends," Meat Loaf's agent Michael Green said in a statement to PEOPLE.

"His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne's World. 'Bat Out of Hell' remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time. 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. We thank you for understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls... don't ever stop rocking!"

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