Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder and songwriter the alternative-rock band Fountains of Wayne, has died from complications of COVID-19. He was 52.
The musician was hospitalized more than a week ago in upstate New York after falling ill, according to his lawyer Jaime Herman. Just one day ago, his family released a statement to Yahoo Entertainment saying they were “cautiously optimistic” for his recovery.
“Thank you for the outpouring of love for Adam and his family. Adam has been hospitalized with COVID-19. He’s on a ventilator and has been sedated to facilitate his recovery. He is receiving excellent care, his condition is improving and we are cautiously optimistic. His family appreciates all of the love and support.”
But Schlesinger’s prognosis worsened. Another of his attorneys, Josh Grier, told Variety, which first reported the singer’s death, that Schlesinger was “very sick and heavily sedated.”
While Schlesinger became famous for Fountains of Wayne hits like MTV staple “Stacy’s Mom,” which he co-wrote with Chris Collingwood, and recorded five albums with the New York-based band, he was also a prolific composer for TV and film and a sought-after music producer.
Schlesinger’s songwriting earned him three Emmy Awards and a Grammy — as well as Academy Award, Golden Globe and Tony nominations.
Schlesinger and Rachel Bloom collaborated on the music in her popular CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — for which he served as series composer. He won an Emmy, with Bloom and fellow lyricist Jack Dolgen, in September.
I have so much to say about Adam Schlesinger that I am at a complete loss for words. He is irreplaceable.
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) April 2, 2020
Prior to that, he won two other Emmys for original music he made for the Tony Awards in 2013 and 2012.
Schlesinger also wrote the music for Kathy Griffin’s talk show, and the comedian paid tribute to him upon hearing the tragic news, as did other collaborators like Jimmy Kimmel and Fran Drescher.
Oh god. Adam Schlesinger was wildly talented. He graciously wrote the theme song to my “KATHY” talk show called “I’ll say it” He was so patient with me as I was recording it in the booth, guiding me at every step. He did the gig as a favor, in a little home studio on a Saturday💔 https://t.co/SpTdcoBIco
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) April 1, 2020
I am very sorry to hear the terrible news about Adam Schlesinger. I had the pleasure of working with Adam when he wrote the theme to Crank Yankers. He was a kind and super-talented man who will be missed. Sending love to his family, friends and fans.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 1, 2020
We will miss you... Adam Schlesinger died of Covid 19 at age 52 today. He was writing the Music for The Nanny Musical. Devasted😥😭😩 My prayers are for you. May peace be with you... https://t.co/bQ4aMznKk4
— Fran Drescher (@frandrescher) April 1, 2020
Schlesinger’s Grammy win was in 2009 for Best Comedy Album for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, which he helped compose for Stephen Colbert — though he also received two nominations in 2003 for his work with Fountains of Wayne.
I’m so saddened to hear of the death of Adam Schlesinger due to Covid19. From the Dana Carvey show to A Colbert Christmas Special, he was a great (and patient) and talented artist with whom it was my good luck to work. Peace.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) April 2, 2020
Schlesinger also wrote the music for Tom Hanks’s directorial debut, 1996’s That Thing You Do!, for which the musician earned his Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for the title track. Hanks tweeted how “terribly sad” he was of the news and said his production company, Playtone, wouldn’t exist were it not for Schelsinger’s Beatlesque earworm:
There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today. Hanx
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) April 2, 2020
(Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have recovered from COVID-19.)
Schlesinger was also nominated for two Tonys in 2008 for Cry-Baby the musical.
Along with Fountains of Wayne, Schlesinger’s other band projects included the ’90s dream-pop trio Ivy and the powerpop supergroup Tinted Windows featuring Hanson’s Taylor Hanson, the Smashing Pumpkins’s James Iha and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. In addition to producing or co-producing all five Fountains of Wayne and five Ivy albums, Schlesinger was also an in-demand producer and songwriter, working with the Monkees, Dashboard Confessional, Robert Plant, They Might Be Giants, Fastball and many other artists.
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