Cathal Coughlan, acclaimed singer-songwriter from Cork, has died aged 61.
Hailing from Glounthaune in East Cork, the much-loved musician has left a lasting impression on the Irish music scene with his solo material, as well as his work with bands Microdisney, Fatima Mansions and more recently Telefís.
Coughlan died on May 18 after “peacefully slipping away to hospital after a long illness”, according to a statement released today.
Coughlan first entered the Irish post-punk music scene in Cork in the 1980s, forming Microdisney alongside Sean O’Hagan. They would become one of the few Irish bands of the 1980s to achieve international success, even supporting David Bowie in 1988.
The duo quickly became a quintet after moving to London, and the band released five albums to critical acclaim. In 1985, their album The Clock Comes Down The Stairs reached number one on the UK Indie Chart, and their 1987 single “Town to Town” reached the Irish top 40 and number 55 on the UK charts.
After Microdisney disbanded, Coughlan launched Fatima Mansions in 1988, producing five more albums that were also very successful.
They entered the UK Singles Chart Top 10 in 1992 with a reworked version of Bryan Adams’ song “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, and opened the European leg of U2’s Zoo TV Tour the same year.
Coughlan has also gone on to have a very successful solo career, releasing six albums, the most recent of which, Songs of Co-Aklan, was released only last year.
It contained contributions from many musicians he had worked with over the previous forty years, including Microdisney co-founder Sean O’Hagan.
Earlier this year, Coughlan released his debut album “a hAon” with the new Telifís, a duo consisting of himself and Irish producer Jacknife Lee.
Coughlan is survived by his wife, Julie, and a memorial service will be held among close friends and family in the coming weeks.