Pete Burns, singer of ’80s hitmaking band Dead or Alive, died Sunday of a “massive cardiac arrest,” according to his statement released by his management company. He was 57 years old.
The statement, signed “Lynne, Michael, Steve,” said in part: “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 he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories the has left is with. We have no more words, we will make a further statement when we have had a chance to come to terms with our devastating loss.”
Burns and the band are perhaps best known for their 1985 album Youthquake, featuring the hit singles “You Spin Me Round” and “Brand New Lover.” Burns himself was best known for his gorgeous androgeny. Burns began crossdressing when he was 8 years old, and as he told Rolling Stone in a 1984 interview, “The trouble is that people are all too ready to jump to conclusions about anybody who they think looks a bit strange. They think you must be mentally subnormal. Over the years I’ve had to learn how to deal with people who refuse to take me seriously. That’s where I learnt the blunt side of my character.”
Beyond the 1980s, though, Burns became more famous for his appearances on reality TV and the drastic changes in his appearances due to what he claimed were more than 300 plastic surgeries, as Rolling Stone notes in the story announcing his death.