The Specials Frontman Terry Hall Died of Cancer, Says Bandmate

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Terry Hall of The Specials performs on stage at Usher Hall on September 07, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Terry Hall of The Specials performs on stage at Usher Hall on September 07, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

Terry Hall.
Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

Terry Hall, frontman for the ska revival band The Specials, died earlier this week following a “brief illness,” according to a statement shared by the band.

On Tuesday, his bandmate Horace Panter shared the events of the past few months in a lengthy Facebook post, revealing Hall had been battling cancer.

Panter began the post by reflecting on how it all started: “We had it all planned out. Make the album we were going to do in 2020 – a reggae album. Record in Los Angeles in November. We had the studio booked, flights paid for, accommodation sorted.”

He later added, “Confidence was high. We were set to meet up with Nikolaj and make magic. This was in September. Terry e-mails everyone and says he’s in bed with a stomach bug and can’t do the first week of pre-production sessions. No big deal, we can knock everything back a week. We’re not due to fly out until November 4th. The next week, Terry is no better and is in [the] hospital. There’s not much we can do except wait for him to get better. Sunday October 2nd and I get a phone call from Manager Steve.”

Panter, 69, goes on to say that “everything turned to s—” and Hall’s illness was “a lot worse than we thought.” He had cancer and was developing diabetes.

“There is nothing anyone can do. Everything is put on hold. Terry is emphatic that no-one be told about this. If anyone asks, he’s managing his diabetes,” Panter wrote. Hall then began his chemotherapy and was in and out of the hospital to stabilize his diabetes — before things “went quiet.”

“Beginning of December and reports are not good. Terry has lost a lot of weight and is very frail. His friend Ian Broudie visits and phones Manager Steve. He fears that Terry is slipping away. 15th December and Manager Steve drives up to London to visit,” he recalled. “He calls me on his return journey and says things are not looking promising. Terry is dying. The next day he is put on morphine and is more-or-less unconscious for most of the time.”

Panter debated going to see his friend but was advised otherwise, so he said goodbye through the phone. Hall died the next evening.

“The world has lost a unique voice and I have lost a good friend,” he concluded.

horace panter and terry hall

horace panter and terry hall

Horace Panter and Terry Hall.
Harry Herd/Redferns

The Specials previously confirmed Hall’s death in a statement on social media Monday. He was 63.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, following a brief illness, of Terry, our beautiful friend, brother and one of the most brilliant singers, songwriters and lyricists this country has ever produced. Terry was a wonderful husband and father and one of the kindest, funniest, and most genuine of souls,” the statement began.

“His music and his performances encapsulated the very essence of life… the joy, the pain, the humour, the fight for justice, but mostly the love. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him and leaves behind the gift of his remarkable music and profound humanity. Terry often left the stage at the end of The Specials’ life-affirming shows with three words… ‘Love Love Love’ ”

The statement concluded, “We would ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.🖤”

Hall formed The Specials in 1977 and he served as the lead vocalist until 1981, before returning for a reunion in 2008 up until his death, according to Rolling Stone.

He is survived by his wife Lindy Heymann, a director, and his three sons — two of whom he shares with ex Jeannette Hall, according to the BBC.