Peter Steele, the lead singer and bass player of gothic/metal band Type O Negative, a groundbreaking group known for its dramatic lyrical emphasis on the themes of romance, depression, and death, died suddenly Wednesday night. He was 48.
"Peter Steele passed away last night of what appears to be heart failure,” according to a message written to fans Thursday on the band’s Web site. "We are truly saddened to lose our friend and appreciate the tremendous outpouring today from around the world."
Steele had a reported history of substance abuse, but his band mates say he “had been enjoying a long period of sobriety and improved health.”
Steele was most known for his deep, rich, natural baritone voice. At 6'7" he towered over the rest of the members of his band and would often roll his eyes into the back of his head while singing in videos and in live concerts.
In May 2005, rumors swirled of Steele’s death after the band’s Web site posted a headstone with his name and the dates “1962-2005.”
It turned out to be a hoax of Steele’s own warped sense of humor.
Type O Negative had it’s biggest year back in 1993, when the band’s album “Bloody Kisses” went platinum with the hits “Christian Woman” and “Black No.1.”
Steele was to begin writing and recording new music as a follow up for the band’s 2007 album “Dead Again,” according to the band’s Web site.
He is survived by five sisters, the eldest of whom praised him as a larger-than-life character whose death casts a shadow on the music industry."
“He was more than our brother, he was our son. His untimely death is tragic -- a great loss to us and to music,” she said.
Funeral arrangements remain unknown, but the family is asking fans for privacy.
The official cause of Steele's death is pending an autopsy.