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‘Dead or Alive’ singer Peter Burns dies of heart attack at 57

  • Dead or Alive founder died after a ‘massive cardiac arrest’, manager said
  • Born in Wirral, Merseyside, he had a huge hit with You Spin Me Round
  • Later in life he underwent several plastic surgery operations 
  • He previously said ‘I hope when I’m 80 God doesn’t recognise me’ 
  • Band was due to release special album in just four days time 

Singer Pete Burns has died aged 57, his manager has confirmed. 

Article by Joseph Curtis

In a statement on Twitter, his manager said: ‘It is with the greatest sadness that we have to break the tragic news that our beloved Pete Burns of (Dead Or Alive) died suddenly yesterday of a massive cardiac arrest.’ 

Burns, from Wirral, Merseyside, founded band Dead or Alive in 1980 but went on to feature in several reality television shows in later life – as well as undergo more than 300 plastic surgeries.

His death comes just days before his band’s compilation album Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI was due to be released on October 28.


Singer Pete Burns, pictured, 57, has died after a ‘massive cardiac arrest’


A statement was released on his official Twitter account by his manager reporting his death


Dead Or Alive, fronted by Burns, pictured in 1984, is due to release a special anniversary album on October 28


Pictured earlier this year, Burns said he would ‘never stop going under the knife’ in the pursuit of physical perfection


A statement released today said Burns’ (pictured) family and friends were ‘devastated’ by his loss and were thinking of the ‘wonderful memories he left us with’

In the statement, his manager added: ‘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 that he has left us 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.

‘He will live forever in our memories.’

Burns was due to appear on today’s edition of Loose Women and was replaced by Alesha Dixon. 


Burns, pictured with Dead Or Alive in 1985, had a huge hit with You Spin Me Round


The star underwent an image change after plastic surgery, left and right, and admitted he had endured ‘more than 300 surgeries’


He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, pictured, where he gained more fame for his ‘scathing’ verbal attacks on housemates


The star, pictured left and right, strived for a glamorous look and went under the knife several times to achieve it


But the operations also led to a lot of problems, causing Burns, pictured, to seek numerous fixes and undergo acid peels Channel 5’s Celebrity Botched Bodies: What it takes to be a star


Earlier this year Burns admitted he has endured more 300 procedures to fix botched surgery on his face, which left him depressed and fighting for his life.

The star – who likened himself to Frankenstein’s monster – vowed to never stop going under the knife in the pursuit for physical perfection.

He declared: ‘The number of surgeries I’ve has is probably 300. I hope when I’m 80 and I get to heaven God doesn’t recognise me.’ 

Burns said his obsession with changing his face started more than two decades ago at the time of his chart success with You Spin Me Round.

‘I realised I was going to be a visual entity and that I had to look good’, he said.

‘I had a broken nose. In the punk days somebody head butted me in Liverpool and it went over to one side.’

The star splashed out £750 to go under the knife in the quest for the perfect nose, but knew when he woke up ‘covered in blood’ that things had gone wrong. 



His present day appearance was a far cry from his eyepatch-wearing rock star look in the 1980s, pictured


He was married to hairdresser Lynne Corlett from 1978 to 2006, when he divorced her and entered into a civil partnership with boyfriend Michael Simpson, left with Burns


He became well-known for his flamboyant dress sense, including this bikini he modelled during a film premiere at Vue Leicester Square in 2006


The singer looked worse for wear appearing on Celebrity Botched Up Bodies, pictured, on Channel 5 earlier this year


A botched lip job, pictured, caused him grief and led to more surgeries to correct

The reconstructive surgery that followed was the first of dozens of corrective treatments, including four nose jobs, two sets of cheekbone implants and lip plumping.

But his lip augmentation also went badly wrong – and the filler injected into his pout began spreading all over his face.

He said: ‘I started to develop holes in my skin and if I so much as touched my face there would be an audible hissing and out onto the mirror would vomit this yellow fluid.’

After suing the surgeon and receiving £450k in compensation, Burns underwent around 200 surgeries over the space of two years to fix the problem.

He said: ‘I’ve had a major operation a week for two years to remove it from my cheeks where it had migrated, my Adam’s apple, the back of my eyes.

‘They couldn’t do anything about the liver and the kidneys. I had to excrete that out.’

He added: ‘I’ve got staples, nuts, bolts, stitches, the whole lot. I’m Frankenstein. I’m feeling wonderful. I’ve got complete flexibility, not tightness at all’, he declared.

‘People might think I’m the ugliest son of a b**** alive but I want to maintain this appearance.’

The large amount of medication he was taking had a massive effect on his health, and he ended up being rushed to hospital.

He said: ‘I developed blood clots and pulmonary embolisms in my legs, heart and lungs.

‘I got these black marks on my skin and I thought they were bruises. The next thing my driver came in and I was unconscious, not breathing.’

After 10 days fighting for his life in hospital and being put on blood thinners, Pete made a miraculous recovery.

But his hospital stint left him with rotting teeth, turning to veneers in a bid to cover up his crumbling mouth. 


Burns became well known for his appearances on reality television in later life, including this appearance on Channel 5’s Celebrity Wedding Planner with John McCririck (left)


Burns, pictured with Simpson in 2007, described himself as ‘Frankenstein’ due to the number of operations he had, but later said he felt ‘wonderful’


Many fans took to social media (pictured) to talk of their sadness at Pete Burns’ death


The singer was described as ‘provocative, quirky and one-of-a-kind’ by one user (pictured)


Broadcaster Jamie East said Burns was a ‘true pop icon’ who was ‘fun to work and hang out with’ (pictured)

Many fans, followers and friends took to Twitter to post tributes to Burns. 

Wayne Hussey, a former guitarist with Dead Or Alive, currently on tour as singer with The Mission, wrote on Facebook: ‘I’m sat in a dressing room in Bratislava and just received the devastating news that my ol’ mucker Pete Burns (of Dead Or Alive) has sadly passed away. I can’t believe it.

‘Pete was and will remain quite possibly the most naturally talented person I have ever worked with.

‘Always larger than life, which sometimes tended to obscure that fact, with the quickest and most wicked tongue, he was always huge fun to be around. I loved Pete and learnt so much from him.

‘Today is indeed a very sad day for me. Pete will always live large, and very fondly, in my memory. RIP, dear friend.’


Burns (pictured) underwent ‘dozens’ of corrective treatments after lip augmentation went badly wrong and a ‘botched’ nose operation

They recorded music but did not manage to make a real impact on the scene until they changed their name to Dead Or Alive in 1980.

The band had hits with singles including You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – which went to number one in the UK – Love Come Back To Me and Something In My House.

They enjoyed three Top 30 UK albums – Sophisticated Boom Boom, Youthquake and Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know.

You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) was re-released in 2006 after Burns appeared on Celebrity Big Brother but he admitted he felt uncomfortable with it being revived.

‘It’s like still wearing school uniform when you’re 50,’ he told Big Brother host Davina McCall after leaving the house.

Burns later launched a solo career but did not achieve the same sort of mainstream success he had enjoyed with the band.

His last solo single, Never Marry An Icon, was released in 2010.

In more recent years he appeared on several reality television shows including the Celebrity Big Brother stint in 2006, Celebrity Wife Swap and The Body Shocking Show.

He was known for undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures and changing his image, and during an appearance on Celebrity Botched Up Bodies just last month he said he had had over 300 procedures on his face.

He was always unapologetic about his stance on plastic surgery, saying in an interview in 2011: ‘It’s something I’ll always do.’

He added: ‘People redecorate their homes every few years and I see this as no different. Changing my face is like buying a new sofa.’

He was known for his androgynous style and told The Guardian in 2007: ‘Everyone’s in drag of some sorts, I don’t give a f*** about gender and drag. I’m not trying to be a girl by putting on a dress – gender is separated by fabric.


Burns and partner Simpson, pictured left in London and right at their civil partnership ceremony, were often seen in colourful outfits

‘I was brought up with an incredible amount of freedom and creativity. Society has put certain constraints on things.’

Burns was married to Lynne Corlett in Liverpool in 1980 and they stayed together for more than 20 years.

The pair remained close after the split and Corlett has been quoted as saying they were ‘soul mates’.

Burns went on to get engaged to Michael Simpson and they tied the knot in 2007, with the singer dressed as a geisha.

Editor of the Gay Times magazine Darren Scott tweeted a picture of the celebrity hugging him.

He wrote: ‘Very sad to hear the news that Pete Burns has passed away. He was always a gent and hilarious to speak with. A legend.’

Stylist Cesare Polini did the same and said: ‘RIP to a legend. Love to Lynn, Michael. You were an absolute joy to be around. Clever and fast like no other#PeteBurns’

Virgin radio presenter Jamie East tweeted: ‘So desperately sad to hear about Pete Burns. A true pop icon and a really, really fun fella to work and hang out with. Sleep well buddy’

Pop critic Simon Price wrote: ‘So sad to hear of the death of Dead Or Alive’s Pete Burns. One of the last great 80s freaks to make it big before pop got boring again. RIP.’

George Galloway, who shared the Celebrity Big Brother House with Burns in 2006, tweeted: ‘Sad to hear of the demise of Pete Burns. He was a cross between Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. You don’t get more brilliant than that. RIP.’  


Burns, pictured, underwent around 200 surgeries over the space of two years to fix lip augmentation surgery


The singer, left and right, said medication he took around his surgeries led him to develop blood clots and pulmonary embolisms in his legs, heart and lungs


A host of celebrities have paid tribute to Burns, pictured, describing him as a ‘sensitive soul’


Gay MP Stewart McDonald paid tribute to Burns and said You Spin Me Round was the ‘anthem to his coming out’ Singer Pete Burns dies of cardiac arrest at the age of 57



Broadcaster and writer Roo Green said: ‘Remember when pop stars weren’t media trained to within an inch of their life? Pete Burns was a provocative, quirky, glorious one-of-a-kind’

And fan Emily Estelle added: ‘So sad to hear about Pete Burns. This year really is taking away legends RIP Pete Burns.’

Celebrities including Boy George and 80s pop star Marilyn have also been paying tribute following news of the star’s death.

Boy George said: ‘Tearful about the passing of @PeteBurnsICON he was one of our great true eccentrics and such a big part of my life! Wow. Hard to believe!’

Marilyn said he was shocked as he saw Burns recently.

‘Absolute shock at the news of Pete Burns death … only just saw him … my sincerest wishes to his family, friends, and fans,’ he wrote on Twitter.

Samuel Preston, the Ordinary Boys frontman who appeared on Celebrity Big Brother alongside the singer in 2006, tweeted: ‘Heartbroken to hear about Pete Burns. He was a true punk rocker and one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever know. Gutted.’

Davina McCall, who hosted the Celebrity Big Brother series the singer appeared in, said: ‘So, so sad to hear about Pete Burns… we partied hard in the 90s … RIP Pete x.’

Singer Sinitta wrote: ‘Rest in Peace @PeteBurnsICON we had some laughs and some tears over the years. You were a sensitive soul and will be missed x.’

According to an interview with the Guardian in 2003, Burns dropped out of his all-boys school in Liverpool aged 14 after he was summoned to the headmaster’s office ‘with no eyebrows, Harmony-red hair and one gigantic earring’.


Burns returned to mainstream fame in 2006 thanks to his appearance on Big Brother, pictured


Burns, right, was on the show alongside other stars including flamboyant former basketball star Dennis Rodman, left, and glamour model Jodie Marsh


One of his memorable moments was dressing up in a leotard alongside former MP George Galloway and performing a ‘robot dance’


Sporting flowing golden locks, Burns, pictured, finished fifth on the celebrity show


He also appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap with former Liverpool and England footballer Neil Ruddock, right, in 2007

He later started working at record shop Probe Records, before playing in bands.

One such group was Nightmares in Wax, formed in Liverpool in 1979, which changed to Dead Or Alive a year later after several members were replaced.

They had a brief spell of success in the mid 1980s, beginning with a cover version of KC and the Sunshine Band’s That’s the Way (I Like It).

A year later they released worldwide hit You Spin Me Round, even making the top 20 in the US.

The band’s popularity soon waned, although they released seven albums between 1984 and 2000.

He came back to prominence after appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, alongside a host of other names including flamboyant former basketball star Dennis Rodman and politician George Galloway, who famously pretended to be a cat on the show.

Burns caused a stir in the house after claiming that his coat was made of gorilla skin, causing police to remove it without his knowledge or consent.

Tests revealed it was actually made from the skin of the Colobus monkey – another endangered species – and a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.


Burns previously said ‘People might think I’m the ugliest son of a b**** alive but I want to maintain this appearance’


Burns and partner Simpson, pictured, initially split soon after their civil partnership but later reunited


Burns, left and right, caused a stir in the house after claiming that his coat was made of gorilla skin, causing police to remove it without his knowledge or consent


Burns, left, pictured being interviewed by Muriel Gray, right, on Channel 4 pop show The Tube in 1984


Burns took no prisoners on Big Brother and was known for his ‘acid tongue’ on the show}

No charges were brought against him because the pelts used to make the coat were found to have been imported before it became illegal to use them, although animal rights campaigners were upset at the events.

He took no prisoners with his comments about fellow housemates and was known for his ‘acid tongue’.

After winning 13.6 per cent of the vote, he finished fifth, and was greeted with a hostile reception upon leaving.

Due to the success, he went on to present side show Big Brother’s Big Mouth for a week in August 2007 during Big Brother 8.

In the same year he entered into a civil partnership with partner Matthew Simpson, a year after divorcing Lynne Corlett following more than 20 years of marriage.

The pair remained close after the end of the marriage and Corlett has been quoted as saying they were ‘soul mates’.

He then took part in Celebrity Wife Swap, in which he lived with former Liverpool and England footballer Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, known for his tough tackling and no-nonsense attitude.

He then had his own series on Living TV called Pete’s PA, in which a group of contestants competed to become his assistant.

Burns endured some difficult times in recent years, and was even declared bankrupt in 2015.

He was said to have been evicted from his London flat in April 2015 over £34,000 in unpaid rent, a situation which caused his landlord ‘to suffer a breakdown due to stress’. 


Although his appearance may have changed, Burns’ brand of showmanship was a constant throughout his career


Dead Or Alive’s fame dwindled after the mid 1980s but the band carried on until the present day, although it had not released material or performed live in years


Gay Times editor Darren Scott, pictured left with Burns, described the late singer as a ‘gent’ and a ‘legend’

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