Bronski Beat star Steve Bronski dies at the age of 61

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat during solo tour at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California on June 26, 1996. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Steve Bronski has died at the age of 61. (Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Bronski Beat co-founder Steve Bronski has died at the age of 61.

The sad news was announced on the synthpop band’s Facebook page.

His bandmate Jimmy Somerville said he was “sad” to hear that the keyboard player had passed away.

Read more: Jimmy Somerville joins Bronski Beat busker for impromptu street duet

"He was a talented and a very melodic man," he tweeted.

"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. Jimmy x."

Bronski Beat was formed in the 80s with the initial line-up of Bronski, Somerville and Larry Steinbachek.

The band had hits such as Smalltown Boy, Why? and Hit That Perfect Beat.

Many fans saw their 1984 hit Smalltown Boy as ground-breaking at the time, as it was about a young gay man leaving his homophobic town and heading for the city.

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Steve Bronski, John Foster and Larry Steinbachek of Bronski Beat perform on stage circa 1986. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Bronski Beat on stage in 1986. (David Redfern/Redferns)

Three years ago, Bronski told The Guardian: "At the time we were just three gay guys who started a band - we didn't feel like part of any particular movement.

Read more: How 80s LGBTQ band Bronski Beat’s haunting ‘Smalltown Boy’ made a difference

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

Watch: How Bronski Beat's 'Smalltown Boy' video made a difference in queer culture

Many fans expressed their sadness after hearing that Bronski had died.

One wrote: “Thanks for some great electronic music tracks. Smalltown Boy is such an important track which summed up the time, and it still does to this day.”

Another said: “Bronski Beat’s music meant a lot to me as I came out in high school in the early 80s! It made me feel more proud to be myself!!”

“Bronski Beat was a guiding light of optimism during those dark days in the 80s,” said another.