Cathal Coughlan, the Irish singer-songwriter and frontman for the band Microdisney, has passed away at the age of 61. Known for his work both in Microdisney and with the band Fatima Mansions, Coughlan had a profound and celebrated impact on the music industry.
While no specific cause of death has been revealed, his family confirmed in a statement that Coughlan “slipped away peacefully in hospital after a long illness”. More details have not yet been made available.
Coughlan, who formed Microdisney in 1980, relocated to London in 1983. Although his band didn’t break into the mainstream, their impact on the indie rock and alternative scenes can’t be understated. Notably, the single ‘Town to Town’ came close to hitting the UK top 40, marking one of their biggest successes.
After disbanding, Coughlan formed Fatima Mansions in 1988, describing it at the time by saying that the band had “an outlaw mentality”. Detailing further, he added: “The experience of having been in a band that was doing OK and tumbling out of it was pretty unsettling and I was existing on a hovercraft of alcohol and caffeine.” And yet, they expanded upon his sound and stayed together until 1995.
Coughlan continued his solo career long after his work with Fatima Mansions. In addition to working alone, he also collaborated with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller on The North Sea Scrolls before teaming up with producer Jacknife Lee for a new collaboration called Telefís. Most recently, Coughlan released a solo album just last year.
Given the tragic news, many of Coughlan’s contemporaries have already started to pay tribute to the artist on social media, such as Tim Burgess, who tweeted: “Cathal Coughlan, music genius, has left this realm. His brilliant songs remain. Play them loud and remember him.”
Luke Haines joined him in tweeting: “I’m so sorry to say that my dear friend Cathal Coughlan has passed away. I have no words at the moment. Just sadness and anger really.”
Coughlan is survived by his wife, Julie.