British pop singer Kirsty MacColl, who collaborated with such musicians as the Pogues, the Rolling Stones and the Smiths in a two-decade career, was killed in a boating accident Monday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the artist.
MacColl, 41, was on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, swimming with her two children when a speedboat allegedly traveling in an illegal area struck her. MacColl's children were not hurt in the accident. An English-speaking Cozumel police officer was not available for comment.
Producer Steve Lillywhite, MacColl's former husband and the father of her children, is flying to Mexico on Tuesday (December 19) to be with the children, MacColl's spokesperson said. In addition to working with U2, the Dave Matthews Band and Peter Gabriel, Lillywhite had produced two of MacColl's albums.
MacColl released her latest album, Tropical Brainstorm, earlier this year. Her debut single, "They Don't Know," released on Stiff Records in 1979, failed to chart in the United States or England, but Tracey Ullman's cover version was a huge hit in both countries in 1984.
"I was very saddened to hear of the tragic circumstances that killed my friend Kristy MacColl," Ullman said in a statement. "Kirsty wrote great songs, particularly for girls, that made you laugh and broke your heart. I remember her for her unique talent and will be forever grateful for letting me sing her songs."
MacColl later scored her own successful U.K. singles with "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" in 1981 and a cover of Billy Bragg's "A New England" in 1985.
MacColl, daughter of folksinger Ewan MacColl, sang on albums by the Rolling Stones, the Smiths, Simple Minds, Big Country, Talking Heads, Happy Mondays and others. Among her most famous collaborations are her duets with Shane MacGowan on the Pogues' alt-rock Christmas perennial "Fairytale of New York," with Morrissey on his "Interesting Drug" single and with Bragg on his "Sexuality."
Kevin Nixon, MacColl's manager of four years, said in a statement, "We are absolutely distraught. I was personally immensely proud to be her manager after being a fan for so many years before that."
MacColl was much happier in 2000 than she had been in many years, according to friend Alan Officer, who also maintains Freeworld, a Kirsty MacColl Web site.
"Just as she had found happiness and further creative success, it all ends," Officer said. "Kirsty had recently released probably the finest work of her whole career in Tropical Brainstorm, a mature, witty, wonderfully rhythmic and musical [album] with a truly exceptional band [playing] the material."
MacColl's spokespeople said more information on her death would be released Wednesday.