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Peter Steele, Type O Negative Frontman, Dead at 48

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Peter Steele, frontman and bassist for the goth metal band Type O Negative, was found dead of apparent heart failure on April 14. He was 48.

According to the band's website, Steel had been fighting a sudden illness before his passing and had been enjoying much better health as a result of a "long period of sobriety." An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Steele had built his reputation as the 6'7," mysterious, even vampiric lead singer of Type O Negative. He pushed the boundaries of what people expected of him, having appeared on The Jerry Springer Show and posed as a centerfold for Playgirl magazine. 

Like Steele himself, the band is best known for its heavily gothic music and lyrics that focus on rage, sex, fantasy, romance, death, and self-loathing. They also experimented with the boundaries of what made music music. On their 1998 album, October Rust, one track consisted of the buzzing sound that can be heard through an amplifier when you plug in a guitar. Another was a compilation of guitar, drums, and voice that depicted a war or battle.

“Peter Steele was one of the most brilliant and funny personalities in music and it was all for real," said Kenny Hickey, Type O Negative guitarist and Steele's friend since childhood. "Half the time people thought he was joking, but he was actually telling the truth. Part of me died with him.”

Services for Steele will be private, but memorial services will be announced at the band's website

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About Robin Kavanagh

  • very sad, younger than I am – thanks Robin!

  • Lisa

    Oh Peter you will be missed. In this crazy world you were a beacon of brilliant (in)sanity, and SO much fun to look at. Your music was complex, layered, beautiful, hard, compelling – I am pretty sure it was a lot like you. You will be sorely missed, as will all the music that was still in you. Go with God, rest in peace. You deserve it.