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Steve Strange dead: New Romantic pioneer dies of heart attack at age of 55

The Visage singer set up the Blitz Club in London, where New Romantic stars performed before finding fame

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 12 February 2015 22:26 GMT
Steve Strange as the New Romantic pioneer has died of a heart attack in Egypt at the age of 55, his record label said.
Steve Strange as the New Romantic pioneer has died of a heart attack in Egypt at the age of 55, his record label said. (Andy Butterton/PA Wire)

New Romantic pioneer and Visage frontman Steve Strange has died of a heart attack in Egypt, his record label has confirmed. He was 55.

The Welsh pop star came to prominence in the 1980s as the singer of Visage, who enjoyed success with Fade to Grey.

The singer also managed the Blitz Club in Soho, central London, which would become the centre point for the New Romantic movement.

Pete Bassett, the singer’s agent paid tribute to the singer, calling him "lovable" and "hardworking".

"He will be remembered as a hard-working, very amusing and lovable individual who always was at the forefront of fashion trends.

"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."

Born Steven John Harrington in Newbridge, Monmouthshire, he was inspired to make music after he saw the Sex Pistols in concert at the Castle Cinema in Caerphilly in 1976.

By 15, Strange was working in London for Pistols' manager Malcolm McClaren before he set up Blitz, where a yet unknown Boy George was worked in the cloakroom.

The Welsh pop singer found fame in the 1980s as frontman for Visage (PA)

Later, the likes of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Boy George's Culture Club would perform at the venue before making their big breaks.

The club also counted David Bowie among its fans, who according to Strange went there “because he had heard how bizarre it was”.

Dubbed the Peacock Prince, Strange said of the New Romantic style he helped create: “It was about showing your creative side, and about showing that you'd taken time and effort in what you had created.

"It was about classic style and being outrageous, but done with an element of taste."

Tributes poured in on Twitter, with Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon tweeting: "I'm very sad to announce that our friend Steve Strange has died in Egypt today. He was the leading edge of New Romantic. God Bless him."

Billy Idol wrote: "Very sad to hear of my friend Steve Strange passing, RIP mate."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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