Mark Stewart, leader of post-punk icons The Pop Group, died early Friday morning. No cause of death has been given, and he was 62. "Mark is in Communion with Love," a statement read on The Pop Group's Facebook. "As Sufis say; there is no such thing as death, no one is going to die, but since death is so valuable, it has been hidden in the safe of fears. Mark's family and friends respectfully ask to be given space at this difficult time."

Adrian Sherwood, who worked closely with Mark and The Pop Group on their albums, wrote, "Thank you my brother. You were the biggest musical influence in my life and our extended family will miss you so so much. Love forever." Bandmate Gareth Sager simply wrote, "Mark was the most amazing mind of my generation, RIP."

Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, wrote, "I've known Mark as a friend and a fellow traveller for over 40 years, since he was the lead singer of The Pop Group. I have so many wonderful memories of him - some bizarre, some outrageous, but always inspiring and somehow for a reason.
His musical influence has been much greater than is often acknowledged. He was always encouraging young artists, especially those local to him in Bristol - many have gone on to become global stars."

"His warmth and kindness as a friend has always been something very important to me," Miller continued. "We had so many laughs together, and he had so much creative energy. The last time I saw Mark was a few months ago in Bristol, performing an improvised set with Lee Ranaldo. He was nothing but hilarious, his piece was basically a stand-up routine, and after the show we spent many hours putting the world to rights, it's a wonderful memory, I will miss him greatly. Mark, I can't imagine you being anything other than restless but I hope you find your very special peace."

Mark co-founded The Pop Group in Bristol, UK in 1977, and their unique mix of dub, funk, and punk continues to be highly influential. Their debut single "She Is Beyond Good and Evil" is one of the greats of the early post-punk era, and their debut album, Y, is just as essential. Stewart reformed The Pop Group in the mid-2010s and released two album, 2015's Citizen Zombie and 2016's Honeymoon on Mars. Stewart put out many terrific solo albums as well, including 1987's self-titled and last year's VS.

Rest easy, Mark.

Read more tributes from Sleaford Mods, Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>), Marc Riley, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Irvine Welsh and more below.

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