After a day or so of speculation, it was confirmed yesterday that Peter Steele (aka Petrus T. Ratajczyk) has indeed passed away from heart failure at the age of 48. Steele, who formed and fronted Type O Negative, had once actually faked his own death in 2005 through a post on the band's website. Stunts like this, however, were hardly surprising coming from a man whose sense of humor was often as dark and perplexing as his lyrics.
From his spread in Playgirl magazine to his appearances on daytime talk shows like Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake to the countless interviews he gave MTV over the years, Steele had an odd but always clever take on life, which was also portrayed through such songs as "Kill All the White People," "I know you're Fucking Someone Else," and the popular Seals and Crofts cover of "Summer Breeze."
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With the laughs, however, came years of substance abuse and legal problems. In 2005, the 6'8 260 pound frontman did a stint in the big house and a mental institution for incidents stemming from "accidentally hitting someone in the face fifty times." He also reportedly suffered from drug-induced psychosis, and was subjected to a family fronted drug intervention. Having been sober for the past few years, a follow up to 2007's Dead Again was said to have been in the works.