Pete Burns, the singer behind the dark new wave band Dead or Alive, has died of cardiac arrest, according to a statement released by his family and management. He was 57.
Burns rose to prominence with the 1980s pop hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” and became a staple of ‘80s pop fashion. His androgynous approach to clothing and outsized fashion statements helped influence Boy George and a generation of gender-flexible pop acts.
Born in Cheshire, England, to a turbulent home life, Burns turned to pop music at a young age, starting his first band while working at a Liverpool record store before founding Dead or Alive.
He later returned to the spotlight as a contestant on “Celebrity Big Brother,” and released his last single, “Never Marry an Icon” in 2010. He married partner Michael Simpson after divorcing his wife, Lynn Corlett, in 2006.
In the statement, Simpson, Corlett and his manager and former band member Steve Coy said, “All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star. He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul and will be missed by all those who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with.”
Boy George also wrote to mark Burns’ passing, saying, “Tearful about the passing of Pete Burns, he was one of our great true eccentrics and such a big part of my life! Wow. Hard to believe!”