The singer’s death was confirmed to Billboard by longtime friend and record producer Joel Diamond, who noted he died at his home in Menifee, Calif. He reportedly had been in an assisted-living facility since April until earlier this month when he reunited with his wife, Jane, at their home, where he remained in hospice care.
A Twitter account for Diamond noted that Mardones died with Jane by his side.
Variety reports that he was a native of Cleveland and grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore. He also served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam war. After he was discharged, he worked as a songwriter for Mercury Records before becoming a solo artist in his own right. He released his first album, “Thank God for Girls” in 1978.
However, he wouldn’t shoot to new levels of fame until 1980 when his album “Never Run, Never Hide” debuted along with the track “Into the Night.” According to Syracuse.com, which first reported the news, the singer’s ballad ascended to number 20 and peaked at 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 twice within a 10-year period. The outlet notes that he entered recovery for substance abuse in the mid-1980s. He moved to Syracuse, N.Y., shortly after he restarted his career.
“When I was addicted to drugs, Syracuse opened its arms to me,” he told the outlet in 2017. “It gave me my life back. The fans never wavered. The radio stations played my songs.”
He eventually called Syracuse his “hometown.”
In 2000, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but continued to perform regularly until the mid-2010s. He is survived by his wife as well as his son Michael and sister Louise.