The lead singer of Visage, Steve Strange, has died at the age of 55. You can remember one of Strange’s greatest musical moments above with Visage’s 1981 hit “Fade to Grey” above. His band were at the forefront of the New Romantic movement in the 1980s. Strange solidified his position in this movement as he managed the Blitz nightclub in London, a cornerstone of the scene. He was born Steven John Harrington in Wales in 1959.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Strange Suffered Heart Failure in Egypt
He suffered heart failure while on vacation in Egypt and died in his sleep. Strange’s death was first announced on the BBC’s radio station 6Music by DJ Mac Riley. The news was later confirmed by Strange’s record label, according to Press Association reporter Alex Diaz. In a statement, Marc Green, a manager at August Day Recordings, said:
We are extremely saddened to announce that Steve Strange died at 11:15 local time on Thursday 12 February in Sharm lel-Sheikh International Hospital, Egypt.
His agent, Pete Bassett, told the BBC that Strange was “hard working” and “very amusing.” Bassett said Strange was “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 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.”
2. He Was Rushed to Hospital Back in December 2014
In December 2014, Strange had been hospitalized with an unknown condition. The BBC reported “His record label said he has been admitted to Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend with a bronchial infection and an intestinal blockage.” This was the singer’s last tweet which came on February 3:
3. Fans & Contemporaries Are Paying Tribute to Strange on Social Media
There has been outpouring of emotion for Strange on Twitter.
Within moments of his death being announced, an R.I.P Steve Strange Facebook page was created.
4. Visage Broke Up & Reformed 3 Times
Visage broke up and reformed many many times over the years. They first disbanded in 1986, shortly after signing with EMI. They didn’t get back together until 2002 with a line-up that Strange named Visage Mk II. That version lasted until 2007. Then most recently, in 2012, Visage Mk III appeared. The band released an album, Orchestral, in December 2014. You can watch the trailer for the band’s album here.
5. Strange Battled Was a Recovering Heroin Addict
He was a native of Wales and was bisexual. In his 2002 autobiography Blitzed, Strange wrote about his battle with heroin addiction. In an interview with the Independent from 2000 it was noted, “His skin is good for a 40-year-old, yet his eyes spell decay – no doubt the legacy of years of heroin addiction.” His first tried smack while modeling to Jean-Paul Gautier in 1985. He later said of that time, “It was the worst mistake that I ever made in my life.”
Like so many in British music, he got interested when he saw the Sex Pistols in Wales in 1976. At the age of 15, he relocated to London where he started working for the Pistols’ manager, Malcolm McLaren.