British singer Kirsty MacColl died Monday in Cozumel, Mexico, apparently struck by a speedboat in an area reserved for swimmers. She was 41.
Her management released a statement this morning, saying the tragedy occurred while the singer-songwriter was vacationing in Mexico with her two sons.
"The accident happened when Kirsty, a keen diver, was hit by a speedboat travelling illegally in an area reserved for swimmers," the statement said. "Her two children were with her in the water at the time, but both of them are all right. Kirsty's former husband [record producer] Steve Lillywhite is flying to Mexico to be with the children.
"Kirsty MacColl was a bright, fun-loving person as well as a talented singer and writer who was loved by anybody and everybody she came into contact with. Manager Kevin Nixon, who has worked with Kirsty for four years, said, 'We are absolutely distraught. I was personally immensely proud to be her manager after being a fan for so many years before that.'"
The daughter of Scottish folk singer Ewan MacColl, her first band was punk outfit the Drug Addix. Her 1979 solo song "They Don't Know" was later covered by Tracy Ullman, who made it a Top 10 U.S. hit in 1984. MacColl first found fame when "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)" reached the Top 20 on the U.K. charts in 1981.
Her biggest success was a 1987 collaboration with the Pogues, "Fairytale of New York," in which she and singer Shane MacGowan begin a traditional-sounding Christmas song but switch to insulting each other as the song continues.
Other artists she worked with include the Smiths, the Talking Heads, the Rolling Stones, Simple Minds, and Billy Bragg, though her frequent breaks from recording kept her from more widespread fame.
She recently taped an eight-part radio series, Kirsty MacColl's Cuba, which was scheduled to begin airing Wednesday on BBC Radio 2.
A spokesman for the channel said the programs had been prerecorded, but it was unclear when they would now be broadcast.
The radio series follows the release of Tropical Brainstorm, her first studio album since 1993's Titannic Days. The album, which features Cuban and Brazilian music, represented her interest in Latin music, which had grown throughout the '90s.
"My first visit to Cuba was in '92, though I'd already recorded with some Latin musicians in New York before that," she told the United Kingdom's Independent last year. "After visiting Havana a few times, I started traveling all over the country, getting increasingly immersed in the music.
"I was very unhappy when I did Titanic Days. I think it was a good record, but you have to be reasonably strong to listen to it. I made a conscious decision after it not to do another album until I was feeling more happy about life."
Reuters contributed to this report.