80s model and singer Nick Kamen dies aged 59

Model and musician Nick Kamen has died aged 59, he had a long battle with bone marrow cancer that led to his death.

Kamen first came to public attention in the 1980s as a model. He appeared on the cover of British style bible The Face in 1984 and the following year starred in a iconic advertisement for Levi Jeans.

The stylish black and white clip saw Kamen stripping down to his boxer sports in a launderette to wash his Levi jeans. The ad was credited with an 800% rise in sales of the jeans after it began airing, and propelled Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine back into the charts.

His sister, Denise Kent, said he had fought hard against the disease.

“He was a real fighter. He gave it everything and was in and out of hospital. He never gave up and put up such a good fight.”

In 1986 Kamen launched his music career with the track Each Time your Break My Heart. The song was originally written by Madonna and producer Steven Bray for her True Blue album but it failed to make the final cut for the record, instead Bray produced the version by Kamen, and Madonna sang backing vocals on his version. Kamen’s version also got a remix from Shep Pettibone, who would go on to create Madonna’s iconic song Vogue.

Kamen’s self titled debut album also included another hit, a cover of the Four Top’s Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever. His second album Us, released in 1988, was produced by another Madonna’s regular collaborators, producer and songwriter Patrick Leonard. Madonna returned to perform backing vocals on the track Tell Me.

In 1990 Kamen scored one of his biggest hits I Promised Myself, which he wrote himself.  It was a hit in many European countries and has been covered by Dead or Alive, Basshunter, A-Teens and German punk-rock band Maggers United. He released his final album in 1992 and retired from the music industry.

Fellow 90s stars have paid tribute to Kamen.

Boy George said he was “the most beautiful and sweetest man” in an Instagram post.

While Madonna said “It breaks my heart to know you are gone. You were always such a kind sweet human and you suffered too much,” she said. “Hope you are happier wherever you are, Nick Kamen.” With her post Madonna shared a photo of her with Kamen in the studio.

John Taylor from 80s legends Duran Duran said Kamen had been a “beloved friend to his family”.

“One of the loveliest and gentlest men I ever met,” he said. “He was a beloved friend to my daughter and her Mom. We shall all miss him.”

Little Britain star Matt Lucas also shared his admiration for Kamen posting, “If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there. RIP.”

OIP Staff

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