Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns is dead at age 57, according to a statement posted to his verified Twitter account. The “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” singer died on Sunday, Oct. 23 of a “massive cardiac arrest,” according to the statement.
“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 [sic],” the statement reads. “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. He will live forever in our memories.”
Dead or Alive scored several seminal Hi-NRG dance hits in the ’80s, most notably with the immortal “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” which hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985 and was interpolated by Flo Rida on the Kesha-featuring No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Right Round” in 2011.
Aside from boasting that enduring hit, the band’s biggest album, 1985’s Youthquake (their second LP, following 1984’s Sophisticated Boom Boom), also featured the synthpop gems “Lover Come Back (To Me)” and “In Too Deep.” The cover art introduced the wider pop world to Burns’ pioneering gender-bending, goth-y approach to fashion as well.
The band’s next few albums (Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, 1987, and Nude, 1989) produced a few minor Hot 100 hits in America. After a quiet stretch, Burns returned to pop culture prominence in 2006 via his appearance on the U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother (where he finished fifth). Aside from his androgynous fashion, was open about his fluid sexuality, especially after he ended his decades-long marriage to a woman and entered into a civil partnership with a man later in life. “I have never had a reason to separate gender,” he told The Guardian in 2007. “I’ve had two very powerful people in my life, my ex-wife Lynn, and my husband Michael, and that’s it. Everyone’s in drag of some sorts, I don’t give a fuck about gender and drag. I’m not trying to be a girl by putting on a dress — gender is separated by fabric.”
Burns was most recently in the news after speaking candidly about his plastic surgery fixation and how it lead to several health scares in his past.
“I realized [in the ’80s] I was going to be a visual entity and that I had to look good. I had a broken nose. In the punk days somebody head butted me in Liverpool and it went over to one side,” Burns explained of how it began to The Daily Mail in Sept. 2016. “The number of surgeries I’ve has is probably 300. I hope when I’m 80 and I get to heaven God doesn’t recognize me.”