The outsize personality of U.S. rock singer Meat Loaf, who died age 74, was cherished and mourned across Europe where news of his passing dampened many a breakfast table on Friday.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “The vaults of heaven will be ringing with rock. RIP meatloaf. Give my regards to Jim. – ALW.”

TV host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Meat Loaf, 74. One of rock music’s all-time great characters whose seminal iconic album Bat Out Of Hell is one of the biggest-selling records in history. A wondrously talented, flamboyant, funny, outrageous and rebellious chameleon. Sad news.”

British actor Stephen Fry said: “I hope paradise is as you remember it from the dashboard light, Meat Loaf. Had a fun time performing a sketch with him on Saturday Live way back in the last century.”

The singer’s connection to the road was a recurring theme for many fans. One Twitter user, using the handle @christinepamela, said “Oh nooooo…. Thank you for the amazing music Meat Loaf – you were my companion during long drives and bad solo karaokes – on repeat.”

“Meat Loaf has been our Road Trip buddy for literal decades. He will remain so. Nothing makes a long journey go faster and funner than everyone yelling along to Bat out of Hell,” said another Twitter user JemChanOT.

Many fans remembered how Meat Loaf was a music fixture for millions of teens in the 1970s and 1980s. “Meat Loaf. Legend, sound of my youth. RIP,” said one Twitter user Oldy but Gold Wolf. “Sad news. Most of our generation will have a Meat Loaf moment. Enthusiastic renditions of Two out of Three Ain’t Bad was ours – still know every word,” said Twitter user @SallyAnnKelly1. “As a kid, I would listen to Meat Loaf incessantly on my parents’ stereo with giant headphones on. I still love those tunes to this day. Rest easy big fella, thank you for the education,” said another @ricketywhite.

Musician and political activist Rebecca Fergusson said on Twitter: “So sad to hear about Meat Loaf I spent many days in my youth attempting to belt out ‘I’d do anything for love and always failing miserably to get the top notes! He was a great talent, thank you for your art. Rest in peace.”

Professional commentators were quick to bicker over Meat Loaf’s best performances. “Forget Bat Out Of Hell, this from Rocky Horror Picture Show was Meat Loaf’s most powerful performance. #RIP,” said British broadcaster and music writer Simon Read.