Steve Mackey, the producer and longtime bassist for the legendary Britpop band Pulp, has died. “Our beloved friend and bass player Steve Mackey passed away this morning,” Pulp wrote in a statement on social media. “Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.” Mackey’s wife, Katie Grand, said that he died following a three-month hospitalization. No cause of death was disclosed. Mackey was 56 years old.
Steve Mackey grew up in Sheffield, where Pulp formed in the late 1970s, and joined the band in 1989. The first Pulp album Mackey played on was 1992’s Separations, and he went on to contribute to every one of their subsequent LPs, including their 1994 breakthrough His N’ Hers, 1995’s Different Class, 1998’s This Is Hardcore, and 2001’s We Love Life.
After the band went on hiatus in 2002, Mackey co-wrote and produced M.I.A.’s first two singles, ‘Galang’ and ‘Sunshowers’, as well as her Kala track ‘Bird Flu’. He also worked on songs by Florence + the Machine, Arcade Fire, the Long Blondes, the Kills, and more. Mackey accompanied Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker on his early solo records, and joined him in a scene from the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as one of the Weird Sisters.
When Pulp reunited for a series of shows last October, Mackey announced he would not take part, writing on Instagram, “I’ve decided to continue the work I’m engaged in—music, filmmaking, and photography projects.” He added, “Wishing Candy, Nick, Mark and Jarvis the very best with forthcoming performances in the UK and also an enormous thanks to Pulp’s amazing fanbase, many of whom have sent me lovely messages today.”
In her Instagram post, Grand said of her husband: “Steve was the most talented man I have ever known, an exceptional musician, producer, photographer and filmmaker. As in life, he was adored by everyone whose paths he crossed in the multiple creative disciplines he conquered. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who worked tirelessly for Steve. He will be missed beyond words.”