How Did Meat Loaf Die? The Details Behind His Unexpected Death

how did meatloaf die. Meatloaf and stoney in 1971
Meatloaf and Stoney in 1971. Image is in the Public Domain.

Meat Loaf has been known as a musical icon ever since he made it big in the 1970s. With so many hit songs such as “Rock and Roll Dreams Come True,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” he was the epitome of what real music is all about. If that weren’t enough, he gave us glimpses into his acting chops in some of the most iconic Hollywood films, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Black Dog (1998), and more. 

When it was announced that Meat Loaf passed away, the world was shocked. What was even worse is that he became just another one of the millions of deceased victims of a cruel disease that no one in the world saw coming. 

How did Meat Loaf Die? What did it say in Meat Loaf’s will, and who inherited Meat Loaf’s estate? Find out that and more below. 

How Did Meat Loaf Die?

Meat Loaf’s cause of death has never been officially announced; however, many have speculated on the official cause based on events surrounding the shocking announcement of Meat Loaf’s death. 

Just a few weeks before his death, there were reports that he had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, leading many media outlets, such as TMZ, to speculate that it was complications of the disease that led to his death. 

Reportedly, this led to Meat Loaf’s children and his wife rushing to his side at the hospital, with the latter being beside him as he died. There’s no telling just when things got serious because, when the announcement was first made of Meat Loaf’s diagnosis, his daughter posted on Instagram, assuring fans that all was well. 

“We are not sick, but we have too many friends and family testing positive [for COVID-19] right now, positive but doing OK.” 

If Meat Loaf’s death was, in fact, caused by complications from COVID-19, there are many health issues that he battled over the years that could point as to why. 

Some of these include Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which causes a rapid heartbeat, which he was diagnosed with in 2003, as well as asthma. 

If COVID-19 is really Meat Loaf’s cause of death, then this is still not the most interesting part of the facts. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, Meat Loaf was an outspoken critic of it all. He told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette in August 2021, just months before his death: “I hug people in the middle of COVID. … I understood stopping life for a little while, but they cannot continue to stop life because of politics.” He further described those who require mask mandates, particularly aboard airplanes, as “power mad” and “Nazis.” 

If I die, I die, but I’m not going to be controlled,” he added. 

meatloaf in 2019 sitting and giving a speech
Meatloaf Q&A at Galaxycon Raleigh 2019. Image by Super Festivals

When Did Meat Loaf Die?

Meat Loaf died on January 20, 2022. 

He is survived by his wife, Deborah Gillespie, whom he married in 2007. He is also survived by his two daughters. Meat Loaf’s children came from his first marriage to Leslie G. Edmonds (1979-2001). The oldest of Meat Loaf’s daughters, Pearl, is actually adopted as she was Edmonds’ from a previous relationship. Meat Loaf’s only biological daughter, Amanda Aday, was born in 1981.  

How Old was Meat Loaf When He Died?

Meat Loaf passed away at the age of 74. 

Where is Meat Loaf Buried?

After Meat Loaf’s death, he was cremated, and his ashes were given to his surviving widow, Deborah Gillespie. 

Gillespie was responsible for Meat Loaf’s funeral service, which took place not long after his death. At the time, she told People magazine: “I want it to be a gathering that he would be proud of. 

“The love and appreciation we have received from friends and fans from around the world has been staggering, and it offers me such comfort,” she added. “I want to say thank you to everyone for the support during the most difficult time of my life.” 

Along with Meat Loaf’s funeral, which saw many paying their respects, several celebrities also made a point to pay tribute to him with various social media posts. Some notable tributes came from Cher, Piers Morgan, Travis Tritt, and even Donald Trump. Additionally, a rendition of his Grammy-award-winning hit song, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” was performed by the Queen’s Guard in tribute to him. (Yes, we’re talking about the late Queen Elizabeth II). Talk about high-profile status. 

This year, the Minnesota State Fair, the largest state fair in the country, included a tribute show to the late singer. The show featured The Neverland Express and “American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson performing some of his biggest songs. Additionally, the show was led by Paul Crook, a music director, and guitarist, alongside drummer John Miceli, guitarist Randy Flowers and female lead vocalist Lyssa Lynne. 

Who Inherited Meat Loaf’s Money?

At the time of his death, Meat Loaf’s net worth had grown to where Meat Loaf’s estate was worth approximately $40 million. While there was no official announcement regarding Meat Loaf’s will, it is highly plausible that his net worth was divided among his second wife, Deborah, and his two children from his first marriage. 

meat loaf album cover with record
Image from Shutterstock.

What Were Meat Loaf’s Last Words?

The exact final words of Meat Loaf have never been revealed; however, his oldest daughter, Pearl, did reveal his last words to her. While she and her sister had rushed to the hospital to be with their father after his health began to decline rapidly, she said their talk revolved around her wedding following her recent engagement. 

She reportedly told him to “get strong” so that he could fulfill his wish of walking her down the aisle, to which he replied asking when it would be. 

“And I said, ‘As soon as you’re out of here, we’ll go to the courthouse if you want. We’ll do it right away.’ And he said, ‘No courthouses, but OK, let’s go.’ So, and those were, not his final words, but his final words directly to me.” 

When plans were being announced for Meat Loaf’s funeral, his widow also revealed information about his final moments. “The grief I feel over the loss of my husband is gut-wrenching. I was lying close to Michael when he took his last breath, and my sadness is beyond words.” 

How Did Meat Loaf Get His Name?

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947, so how did the “Bat Out of H***” singer get his unique stage name? 

Ironically, it wasn’t his only name change. In 1984, he originally changed his name from Marvin to Michael because of a Levi Strauss & Co. commercial that included the line, “Poor fat Marvin can’t wear Levi’s,” which reportedly “haunted” him. 

As far as his stage name, that’s something that has been in place since he was a baby. “I got it when I was four days old, not the ‘Loaf’ part, just the ‘Meat’ because I was born bright red,” he explained during an interview for Oprah: Where Are They Now?

“The loaf came about in the eighth grade,” he continued. “I stepped on a coach’s foot, and he screamed, ‘Get off my foot, you hunk of meatloaf.’” 

Did Meat Loaf Die on Stage?

Meat Loaf did not die on stage; however, while performing in Pittsburgh in July 2011, he did faint on stage because of an asthma attack. Five years later, while performing in Edmonton in June 2016, he collapsed again from dehydration. This came after having already canceled two prior shows because he was ill. 

meat loaf in a leather jacket sitting in front of a blue background
Meat Loaf Photo Op GalaxyCon Raleigh 2019. Image by Super Festivals

What Did Meat Loaf Have Surgery For?

In November 2016, Meat Loaf had to have emergency back surgery. The surgery, which came after several weeks of acupuncture, physical therapy, and working with a trainer four days a week, included a spinal fusion because of a cyst that was pinching nerves. 

While the surgery was successful at first, by 2019, Meat Loaf was using both a cane and a wheelchair to get around. 

Not long after this, he broke his clavicle after falling off an interview stage while at the Hyatt Regency DFW hotel for the Texas Frightmare Weekend. The accident led to Meat Loaf and his wife suing both the Texas Frightmare Weekend and the hotel. 

Why Did Meat Loaf Have a Red Handkerchief?

Throughout his multi-decade career, Meat Loaf was known for having a signature red handkerchief while performing on stage, but why? 

The handkerchief harkens back to his hit album, Bat Out of H***, in which he is featured holding a red cloth on the album’s back cover. The albums trilogy, released in 1977, 1993, and 2006, respectively, became the most iconic albums of his career. Together, they have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with the first of them remaining on the charts for more than nine years. By 2016, nearly 40 years after its release, it still sells approximately 200,000 copies every year. It remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. 


Although it may not be official what Meat Loaf’s cause of death was, the facts and surrounding connections make it easy to conclude that COVID-19 had a role in it. 

Unfortunately, Meat Loaf is just one of the many deceased from this disease that has plagued our world since the spring of 2020 and claimed the lives of nearly 7 million. 

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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