'Total Eclipse of the Heart' Singer Bonnie Tyler Praises Meat Loaf: 'A One Off Talent and Personality'

Bonnie Tyler's career exploded when she recorded the '80s power ballad that Meat Loaf has said was originally meant for him

Bonnie Tyler paid tribute to Meat Loaf in the wake of his death at age 74, calling her longtime collaborator a "one-off talent and personality."

Tyler, 70, said she was "shocked and saddened" by Meat Loaf's death on Thursday night, which came decades after the two first crossed paths as partners of the late songwriter and producer Jim Steinman.

"I am shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Meat Loaf," Tyler told PEOPLE in a statement. "It was hearing his Bat Out Of Hell album, an all-time classic, that inspired me to want to work with the late Jim Steinman. I was privileged to later have an album with Meat Loaf and Jim, Heaven and Hell. He was, as you might imagine, a larger-than-life character with a voice and stage presence to match and is one of those rare people who truly was a one off talent and personality. I will miss him as will his millions of fans all over the world. Rest In Peace."

Music lore has long alleged that "Total Eclipse of the Heart," a Steinman piece that launched Tyler's career in 1983, was initially offered to — and rejected by — Meat Loaf before it reached the Welsh singer.

Tyler, however, corrected the record in July, telling an Australian radio show that that's not how it happened.

"It was supposed to be being written for Meat Loaf, right, but he lost his voice, he also fell out with Jim Steinman at that time — they got back together in the end, but at that time they fell out," Tyler recalled. "But Jim Steinman started writing that song for a musical, for vampires believe it or, and then he didn't do anything else about it."

Tyler said that by the time she met Steinman in 1981, he'd finished writing the track and offered it to her — much to Meat Loaf's disappointment.

Bonnie Tyler, Meatloaf
Bonnie Tyler and Meat Loaf. Adam Head/Newspix/Getty Images; Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

"Meat Loaf was gutted, I think, because he always used to say, 'That song was meant for me!'" she said with a laugh. "I'd say, 'Tough! Tough! I got it! It's miiine.'"

The track went on to be the biggest hit of Tyler's career, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for four weeks. (For what it's worth, Steinman told PEOPLE in 1993 that he wrote the song "to be a showpiece for [Tyler's] voice."

Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf. Pete Still/Redferns

There was no bad blood between Tyler and Meat Loaf, however, as they later teamed up on a dual greatest hits compilation album called Heaven & Hell. Though the album — which mainly featured Steinman compositions — was released in 1989, it was a long journey to success, and didn't chart until 1994, and was not certified Platinum until 2013, according to the 2017 book Everything Louder Than Everything Else: Meat Loaf Guide.

Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday) died on Thursday night surrounded by his family and friends, according to a statement shared with PEOPLE.

"Our hearts are broken to announce the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends," the statement read. "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."

It continued: "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 your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls…don't ever stop rocking!

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