Maxi Jazz, the singer of the UK dance group Faithless, has died “peacefully in his sleep” at age 65.
“We are heartbroken to say Maxi Jazz died last night (December 23),” Faithless announced in a Facebook post. “He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper meaning and message to our music.”
“He was also a lovely human being with time for everyone and a wisdom that was both profound and accessible. It was an honor and, of course, a true pleasure to work with him,” the group’s post continued.
“He was a brilliant lyricist, a DJ, a Buddhist, a magnificent stage presence, car lover, endless talker, beautiful person, moral compass and genius.”
A statement posted to Instagram added that Maxi Jazz “died peacefully in his sleep.”
Maxi Jazz was born Maxwell Fraser in Brixton, London, in 1957 and formed Faithless in 1995 with Rollo Armstrong, Jamie Catto, and Sister Bliss. The group released its debut album, Reverence, the following year, featuring two Top 10 singles, “Insomnia” and “Salva Mea,” which earned the album platinum status.
Faithless went on to release Sunday 8PM in 1998 and Outrospective in 2001 — the latter helping to cement their place as a headlining act in the UK. The single “God is a DJ” earned the group a Mercury Prize nomination for Album of the Year in the UK.
The group earned its first and only Number One album with the release of 2004’s No Roots, which featured such singles as “One Step Too Far” featuring Dido and “Mass Destruction” featuring Dave Grohl. Grohl has famously cited “Mass Destruction” as the one song he wishes he had written himself.
Faithless released two more albums and a greatest hits compilation before going on a seven-year hiatus in 2011. Their 2010 album, The Dance, was a best-seller in the UK and went five times platinum. Faithless returned without Maxi Jazz, who began focusing on a new project: Maxi Jazz and the E-Type Boys.