Gary DeCarlo, the singer and co-author of the 1969 chart-topper “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” has died following a battle with cancer.
DeCarlo’s friend Pat Horgan confirmed the news via Facebook on Wednesday, writing, “Sorry to report the passing of Gary DeCarlo, the lead singer/writer of the classic radio hit ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.’ Gary was a good friend and we worked many Chiller Theatre Conventions together. Hopefully, he’s with his best pal Marty now. Good journey Gary DeCarlo.”
DeCarlo wrote the song with fellow studio musician Dale Frashuer and producer Paul Leka. The song was attributed to the group Steam, though there was actually no band with that name at the time. The group featured on the cover of the single, and who lip-synched to DeCarlo’s vocals for promotional performances, were hired guns who had nothing to do with the creation of the song.
The faux band was a source of heavy contention for DeCarlo, who told ClassicBands.com, “Think back to Milli Vanilli when people found out that these guys weren’t singing. That was a big deal. People don’t like to be fooled. You’re paying money to go out and see these guys perform and they’re not the real deal. So obviously I walked away from it.”
Still, the song became a rock staple, particularly at sporting events, where it’s often used to taunt the losing team.
Horgan told TMZ that DeCarlo died while in hospice care in Connecticut, with his wife by his side.
A GoFundMe page set up last year to raise money for DeCarlo’s medical expenses, said that the singer “has been diagnosed with cancer in several parts of his body and he needs our financial help and the power of prayer now to fight this dreaded disease.”