Peter Steele, the deep-voiced singer, songwriter and bassist for Brooklyn’s goth-metal outfit Type O Negative, has passed away at the age of 48. In an e-mail to CBS News, the band’s manager Mike Renault confirmed Steele’s death, writing “Peter passed away last night. As of now it appears to have been heart failure. That’s all the details we have right now.” Steele was rumored to have been ill in the days leading up to his death, Blabbermouth reports.
News of Steele’s death was initially received with disbelief as Steele pulled a hoax in 2005, posting his picture and the years “1962-2005” on the group’s official website. Soon after, Steele all but disappeared as he battled drug problems and a prison stint. But today as members of Steele’s circle began to confirm his passing, the Type O Negative message boards opened this morning with the message, “Please play nice and expect statements from the band and family later today. Thank you for your understanding and support.”
Type O Negative became one of the most unlikely bands to break into the mainstream in the 1990s with their third album Bloody Kisses, which became the first album released by Roadrunner Records to go platinum. The album boasted rock radio hits “Christian Woman,” a cover of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” and the Beavis & Butthead-approved “Black No. 1.” (“These guys are like a cross between Danzig and Megadeth,” Beavis said at the time.) The 6′ 7″ singer recorded seven albums with Type O Negative, the most recent being 2007’s Dead Again, which entered the Billboard 200 at Number 27, the band’s best debut.
“RIP Pete Steele – a nice (and very funny) man,” Trent Reznor wrote on his Twitter page. “I’m smiling recalling a funny story involving Pete, a microphone, an all-girl lipstick-lesbian band and a can of tuna. Ahh, the good old days…”
In addition to fronting Type O Negative, Steele also performed in the group Carnivore, posed for Playgirl magazine and even appeared on the Jerry Springer Show on an episode dedicated to groupies. Video evidence, and more of Steele’s music, below.