Steve Strange
Eighties pop star Steve Strange has died, aged 55.AFP / Getty Images

Eighties pop star Steve Strange has died of a heart attack in Egypt, aged 55.

His record company issued a statement confirmed the singer whose real name was Steven Harrington, died today (February 12) in Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital. He was on holiday in Egypt.

Marc Green, label manager at August Day Recordings, said: "Steve died in his sleep of heart failure. Steve's family, band members and friends are all distraught at this sudden news of his untimely death."

We are extremely saddened to announce that Steve Strange died at 11.15 local time on Thursday 12th February, in... http://t.co/Ih9pD3r2pY

Born in Newbridge, Caerphilly county, Strange first got involved in music after seeing the Sex Pistols in concert in 1976.

Aged 15, he moved to London to work for Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McClaren. Soon after he set up the Blitz Club in Soho, which would become a focal point for the New Romantic movement of which he was regarded as a pioneer. Bands such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Boy George's Culture Club made their debuts at the club.

Steve Strange
A pioneer of the New Romantics movement Steve Strange is photographed with model Yasmin Le Bon in 1984.AFP / Getty Images

His band, Visage, formed in 1979 and released their breakthrough record, Fade To Grey, the following year, peaking at number eight in the UK Singles Chart. Strange experienced all the highs and lows of a pop career, achieving two successful albums.

But he later became addicted to heroin after trying the drug while modelling at a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show. "It was the worst mistake that I ever made in my life," he said in 2000. He faced legal problems after being arrested for shoplifting a Teletubbies doll and cosmetics set in Bridgend, south Wales.

As news of his sudden death broke on social media, his friends paid their personal tributes. Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon tweeted: "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..."

His agent, Pete Bassett, said in a statement: "He will be remembered as a hard-working, very amusing and lovable individual who always was at the forefront of fashion trends.

"Up until last year he was putting together a book of fashion styles based on the New Romantic movement and it comes as a great shock. We understood that he had certain health problems but nothing we knew was life threatening," he explained.

"His friends and family are totally shocked, we had no idea anything like this was likely to happen."

Kim Wilde, recalled going on a date with the star at the beginning of her career in 1981.

"I was very in awe of him only having just met him, but we quickly became friends and laughed at ourselves ordering sausage and mash with champagne," she said.

"Steve will be remembered as the most elegant and beautiful of the New Romantics at the beginning of the 80s. I'm so grateful that life brought Steve and I together, he was funny, great company and completely bonkers in the most adorable way."

Strange finished recording a classical interpretation of his most successful track Fade to Grey last year.