Heartfelt tributes after ‘shock’ death of Visage frontman

MUSICAL greats from the New Romantic scene paid tribute to Visage frontman Steve Strange, who died of a heart attack while on holiday in Egypt.

Steve Strange Photo: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

Boy George led the tributes to the 55-year-old Welsh singer, best known for the band’s 1980 top 10 hit Fade to Grey. He said: “Heartbroken about the death of my friend Steve Strange. So bloody sad. Such a big part of my life!”

Strange’s influence on the New Romantic scene went beyond Visage, as he ran the Blitz Club in London’s Covent Garden, which brought together musicians, designers and artists - and was famous for its strict door policy, which once saw a drunk Mick Jagger refused entry.

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In a statement, Spandau Ballet described Strange as “a huge influence on the musical and cultural landscape of the Eighties”.

“We are devastated at the news of the passing of our dear friend Steve Strange. Steve was a lovely, warm, generous, kind-hearted man, always full of fun,” they said.

Former bandmates Midge Ure and Rusty Egan said they were “devastated” to hear of the “untimely passing” of the man they described as “a major face of the 80s”. Kim Wilde, who met Strange early on in her career and toured with him in 2002, said she was “grateful” to have known him.

She said: “Steve was a family man first and often spoke of his beloved family in Wales.

“I shall remember him for his humour and generous spirit; he really was a very lovely man.”

A spokesperson for Strange’s record label said he died in his sleep at 11.15am local time on Thursday in Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital.

His 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.

“We understood that he had certain health problems but nothing we knew was life threatening,” he said. “His friends and family are totally shocked, we had no idea anything like this was likely to happen.”

Born in Newbridge, Monmouthshire, Strange moved to London at the age of 15 to work for Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren before setting up Blitz, which employed an undiscovered Boy George in the cloakroom.

Formed in 1979, Visage’s breakthrough record, Fade To Grey, peaked at number eight in the UK and reached number one in Germany and Switzerland. Following the band’s first two albums, Strange became addicted to heroin, which he later described as “the worst mistake” of his life.