Pop singer Pete Burns, the founder of the group Dead Or Alive, has died at the age of 57 from a cardiac arrest.

Burns was catapulted to fame in 1985 with the huge success of the group’s single ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’, and later participated in the 2006 edition of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, in which he finished fifth.

A statement released on Monday (October 24th) by his manager and former band member, Steve Coy, his partner, Michael Simpson, and ex-wife, Lynne Corlett, read: “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 will be missed by all those who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with.”

Pete BurnsPete Burns passed away at the age of 57 this week

Raised in Liverpool and dropping out of school at just 14, Burns began working in a local record shop and formed a band, Mystery Girls, which quickly led to him forming Dead Or Alive with Mike Percy, Steve Coy and Tim Lever in 1980.

Upon success, he became iconic for his androgynous style and forward-thinking approach to gender. Other minor hits for the band followed, but none were as big as their signature song, and various attempts to launch Burns' solo career also proved to be unsuccessful.

Among those paying tribute to Burns was fellow ‘80s pop star Boy George, who wrote: “Tearful about the passing of Pete Burns, he was one of our great true eccentrics and such a big part of my life! Wow. Hard to believe!”

Burns’ fellow ‘CBB’ contestant, George Galloway, also offered his thoughts. “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 was frank about his decades-long addiction to cosmetic surgery, having over 300 operations during his lifetime, mainly on his face, and coming close to death during an operation on his nose in 2006. It was to bring him close to bankruptcy the same year, when he spent most of his life savings on reconstructive surgery in Italy when a procedure on his lip went wrong.

He said at one point that “changing my face is like buying a new sofa” and that there was “not a part of me, apart from the soles of my feet, which has not had work done. For me, plastic surgery is a matter of sanity, not vanity.”

More: Pete Burns reveals he’s still undergoing surgery after lip job hell [archive]