Music

Legendary Bronski Beat musician Steve Bronski died in a fire, friend confirms

Emily Chudy December 14, 2021
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Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat has died at the age of 61

Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat has died at the age of 61 (Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Steve Bronski, co-founder and keyboard player of pop group Bronski Beat, died after a fire in his flat, according to a friend.

The musician’s passing at the age of 61 was announced last week, but no cause of death was given at the time.

Josephine Samuel, who had cared for Bronski after he had a stroke three years ago, said his flat in Soho, central London, was the scene of a fire on 7 December.

Samuel, 51, told The Guardian: “Because he had suffered a stroke, it was difficult for him to get up. He died from smoke inhalation.”

The gospel singer added: “I cared for him through his difficult time – about three years ago he suffered a stroke. I counselled him through depression. He treated me like a sister and I treated him as an older brother. We were very close.

“I came to visit him the day before he died. His death is like a nightmare to me, because I’ve been by his side for years. We are waiting to register his death before his body is taken to Scotland for burial.”

Bronski was born Steven Forrest in Glasgow and worked as a labourer and stage hand in his youth.

It was after he moved to London that he met his future bandmates. The trio formed Bronski Beat in 1983 when they shared a flat in Brixton, London.

Jimmy Somerville, who formed Bronski Beat alongside Bronski and Larry Steinbachek, wrote a tribute on Twitter, describing Bronski as a “very melodic man”. 

“Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died,” he wrote. 

“Working with him on songs and the one song that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time. Thanks for the melody Steve.”

The band often dealt with issues facing the LGBT+ community, famously performing at the Pits and Perverts concert in support of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. 

Bronski Beat’s debut single “Smalltown Boy” received widespread praise from the LGBT+ community for its video portraying a young, gay man leaving his home town to live in the big city. 

Bronski told The Guardian in 2018: “At the time we were just three gay guys who started a band – we didn’t feel like part of any particular movement.

“Of course, it would transpire many years later that there were more gay artists than the public were led to believe.”

The band’s keyboard player Steinbachek died in 2017 at the age of 56 from cancer. 

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