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Colin Vearncombe, the British singer-songwriter who recorded under the name Black and scored an international hit in the late ‘80s with “Wonderful Life,” has died following a car accident. He was 53.
Vearncombe suffered head injuries in a crash in Ireland on Jan. 10 and was placed in an induced coma, the BBC reports. He never regained consciousness and passed away on Tuesday, surrounded by his family.
Colin Vearncombe 26/5/1962 – 26/1/2016 You’ll never walk alone. A full statement will follow shortly.
Posted by Black aka Colin Vearncombe on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Born in Liverpool in 1962, Vearncombe had his first hit with the single “Sweetest Smile” in June 1987, lifted from his debut album Wonderful Life, which peaked at No. 3 in his homeland.
“Sweetest Smile” reached No. 8 on the U.K. singles chart, as did its follow-up, the bittersweet “Wonderful Life” (an earlier release of the song peaked at just No. 72 on the chart). “Wonderful Life” came to be Black’s signature song, earning Top 10 chart positions across Continental Europe and Australia.
Vearncombe’s Black released a handful of albums in the following years, Comedy in 1988 (which peaked at No. 32 in the U.K.) and his last to chart, Black, in 1991 (which managed a high of No. 70).
Vearncombe went on to release 15 albums under his own name, including the 2015 crowd-funded set Blind Faith.
His funeral will be a private one, though Vearncombe’s family will be holding a memorial service for him in his hometown in the near future as “we know there are many, many people who will want to celebrate Colin’s life and work,” said a statement posted to the artist’s Facebook page.
The message ends with a poignant lyric from Vearncombe’s best-known piece: “No need to laugh or cry. It’s a wonderful, wonderful life.”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.
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