Singing Legend Steve Strange From Visage Dies From A Heart Attack.
Lead singer of 1980s pop band Visage, Steve Strange has died at 55 following a heart attack, his record label says. The Welsh New Romantic icon – best known for the hit Fade To Grey – died in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Ex-Visage bandmates Midge Ure and Rusty Egan said they were “devastated” to hear of his “untimely passing”, adding: “Steve was a major face of the 80s.”
Boy George tweeted he was “heartbroken” about the death of Strange, saying he was “such a big part of my life”. Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon tweeted that Strange was “the leading edge of New Romantic. God Bless him”. Fellow 1980s pop star Billy Idol tweeted: “Very sad to hear of my friend Steve Strange passing, RIP mate.”
Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp dedicated the band’s performance in Italy to “a maverick to the end”, while his brother and the band’s bassist, Martin Kemp, tweeted: “RIP Steve Strange goodbye my dear friend. I will miss you!”
Strange’s agent, Pete Bassett, said he would be remembered as “a hard-working, very amusing and lovable individual who always was at the forefront of fashion trends. Up until last year he was putting together a book of fashion styles based on the New Romantic movement and it comes as a great shock. We understood that he had certain health problems but nothing we knew was life threatening. His friends and family are totally shocked, we had no idea anything like this was likely to happen.”
He had suffered ill-health, including in December last year when he was admitted to Princess of Wales Hospital, in Bridgend, with a bronchial infection and an intestinal blockage.
Born Steven Harrington, in Newbridge, Caerphilly county, Strange got involved in music after seeing the Sex Pistols in concert in 1976.
He went to London aged 15 to work for Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McClaren before co-founding the Blitz Club in Soho, central London, which would become a focal point for the New Romantic movement.
The Welsh pop singer found fame in the 1980s as frontman for the band Visage
Bands including Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Culture Club all got their start at the club before finding stardom.
His band, Visage, formed in 1979 and their breakthrough single, Fade To Grey, peaked at number eight in the UK in 1981.
It reached number one in both Germany and Switzerland, and was the first of five UK top 40 hits for the band, which also numbered Midge Ure and Rusty Egan among its members.
Strange also starred in the video of his good friend David Bowie’s number one single Ashes to Ashes in 1980. At the time, the futuristic mini-film was hailed as the most expensive pop music video in history.
Strange recorded a new classical interpretation of Fade To Grey with Visage last year. Strange – who admitted he faced drug addiction problems in the years that followed his early success – recorded a new Visage album, called Hearts and Knives, in May 2013, with the band boasting a new line-up. The band also recorded a new classical interpretation of Fade To Grey last year.
In the intervening years, he had become a sought-after commentator on pop culture, appearing on a number of TV shows recalling the New Romantic era. In a nod to his involvement in the Ashes to Ashes single, he appeared as himself in the BBC One police drama of the same name.
He also made a series of memorable appearances in BBC3 reality show Celebrity Scissorhands, winning the first series in 2007 and returning the following year as an “image consultant”.
Steve with David Bowie on Ashes to Ashes video