Madonna pays an emotional tribute to her protégé Nick Kamen after his death aged 59


Madonna has paid tribute to her protégé and Levi’s launderette model Nick Kamen today after his death aged 59 following a secret battle with bone marrow cancer.

The music icon, 62, took to Instagram shortly after news of his passing to share a slew of pictures of him over the years, and also posted an emotional farewell message with fans.

The Essex-born model, real name Ivor Neville Kamen, died yesterday night at his £1million flat in Notting Hill, West London, and a swathe of celebrities have since shared messages remembering the ‘most beautiful’ man. 

‘It’s heart breaking to know you are gone’: Madonna paid an emotional tribute to her protégé and Levi’s launderette model Nick Kamen today after his death aged 59 from bone marrow cancer

In her poignant post, Madonna wrote: ‘Its heart breaking to know you are gone. You were always such a kind sweet human and you suffered too much. Hope you are happier wherever you are Nick Kamen.’

One snap saw Madonna sit beside Nick in what appeared to be a recording studio, with the singer covering her face with her hand for an animated pose.

The Like A Virgin hitmaker also shared a number of snaps of Nick modelling over the years, including one picture that was promoting his hit single ‘Each Time You Break My Heart’, which they sang together. 

Nick had battled back from the brink of death so many times that his family affectionately called him ‘Lazarus’ after he was first diagnosed with the cancer four years ago.

Tribute: The Like A Virgin hitmaker also shared a number of snaps of Nick modelling over the years, including one picture that was promoting his hit single 'Each Time You Break My Heart', which they sang together

Handsome: The model was seen posing in a separate campaign

Tribute: The Like A Virgin hitmaker also shared a number of snaps of Nick modelling over the years, including one picture that was promoting his hit single ‘Each Time You Break My Heart’, which they sang together

Loss: Nick had battled back from the brink of death so many times that his family affectionately called him 'Lazarus' after he was first diagnosed with the cancer four years ago

Loss: Nick had battled back from the brink of death so many times that his family affectionately called him ‘Lazarus’ after he was first diagnosed with the cancer four years ago

Moved: In her poignant post, she wrote: 'Its heart breaking to know you are gone. You were always such a kind sweet human and you suffered too much. Hope you are happier wherever you are Nick Kamen'

Moved: In her poignant post, she wrote: ‘Its heart breaking to know you are gone. You were always such a kind sweet human and you suffered too much. Hope you are happier wherever you are Nick Kamen’

Despite extensive care, including stem cell treatment, he succumbed to the cancer after being in remission.

His tearful sister Denise Kent told MailOnline: ‘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 It has been four years. A long time’

Denise, from Witney, Oxfordshire, who last saw her brother on Sunday, said family members would take it in turn to visit Nick at his London home and give his partner Lucinda some respite from caring for him.

Denise said during the four-year battle to beat the cancer, family members were convinced he would pass away.

But she said: ‘He would always fight back and would not give up. He came back so often we would call him Lazarus after biblical character. He really did fight so hard.’

Rise to fame: The model made his appearances in his career-making Levi's advert aged 18 when he was given the name 'Nick' - which he later adopted

Rise to fame: The model made his appearances in his career-making Levi’s advert aged 18 when he was given the name ‘Nick’ – which he later adopted

Last picture: The former model is pictured two years ago at a family function after his bone cancer diagnosis but his family described him as 'Lazarus' for continually fighting the disease

Last picture: The former model is pictured two years ago at a family function after his bone cancer diagnosis but his family described him as ‘Lazarus’ for continually fighting the disease

Model: Levi's 'Launderette' ad launched in the UK on Boxing Day, 1985, and became an instant hit

Model: Levi’s ‘Launderette’ ad launched in the UK on Boxing Day, 1985, and became an instant hit

A gold disc from Kane’s singing career hangs on the wall of Denise’s home, marking 250,000 sales of the single ‘I Promised Myself’ in 1990.

Comedian Matt Lucas summed up his status as one of the era’s most memorable sex symbols by tweeting: ‘If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there’.

Boy George described the late singer as the ‘most beautiful’ and ‘sweetest’ man, while John Taylor of Duran Duran said on Twitter: ‘So so sad to hear of the passing of Nick Kamen. One of the loveliest and gentlest men I ever met. 

‘He was a beloved friend to my daughter and her Mom. We shall all miss him. RIP Nick’.  

Friends: The advert then caught the eye of many - including Madonna - who reached out to Kamen, leading to their collaboration, when she sent him a song she had written with Stephen Bray, which they then joined forces on

Friends: The advert then caught the eye of many – including Madonna – who reached out to Kamen, leading to their collaboration, when she sent him a song she had written with Stephen Bray, which they then joined forces on

Claim to fame: Nick (seen here in the last available photo of him from 1995) was best known for his appearance in an iconic 1985 Levi advert

Claim to fame: Nick (seen here in the last available photo of him from 1995) was best known for his appearance in an iconic 1985 Levi advert 

Paying tribute: News of Kamen's death first emerged after tributes from friends with actress Susie Cave describing him as her 'dear friend'

Paying tribute: News of Kamen’s death first emerged after tributes from friends with actress Susie Cave describing him as her ‘dear friend’

Kamen had suffered from cancer for years and was being nursed by his girlfriend, Lucinda, his older brother, Ronald Kamen, 65, told MailOnline today. 

He said: ‘His breathing was very shallow and he knew what was coming. He did fight it very hard. I was with him a few days ago.

‘We have been able to see him, but only one at at time due to the pandemic. That made things a lot worse but he did have the cancer before all the lockdowns.’

Ronald, from Oxford, said his younger brother had undergone a full blood transfusion as part of his treatment.

‘Sadly, the cancer was not caught in time. His girlfriend Lucinda who lived with him in Notting Hill will be speaking for the family.’  

The Eighties pin-up was best known for starring in a 1985 Levis 501 commercial, in which he famously stripped off in a launderette – sending sales of the jeans soaring by 500 per cent as demand failed to match supply. 

Loss: News of the Levi's star and Madonna protégé's death on Tuesday night came after social media tributes arose the following morning when his friend Boy George shared a message on Instagram

Loss: News of the Levi’s star and Madonna protégé’s death on Tuesday night came after social media tributes arose the following morning when his friend Boy George shared a message on Instagram

Comedian Matt Lucas tweeted: 'If you didn't have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren't there. RIP'

Duran Duran also paid tribute

Emotional: Comedian Matt Lucas tweeted: ‘If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there. RIP’ Duran Duran also paid tribute 

The advert made him a sex symbol and caught the attention of Madonna, who sent him a song she had written with Stephen Bray. The pair then joined together for Each Time you Break my Heart.

Kamen dated famous women including the actress Talisa Soto and supermodel Tatjana Patitz. He embarked on a much-publicised romance with TV presenter Amanda de Cadenet from 1999 to 2001, after which he adopted a lower profile and was rarely seen in public. 

The star’s brother, Barry Kamen, was himself a famous model and stylist who fronted the Eighties Buffalo youth culture scene. He died aged 52 on October 4, 2015, after suffering a heart attack.    

Tchaik Chassay, 62, who lives above Mr Kamen, told MailOnline: ‘I last saw Nick about four months ago and he said it was a miracle that he’s still alive.

Singing with Madonna, a Disney soundtrack and THAT iconic Levi advert: Nick Kamen’s life and career  

April 15, 1962 – Born in Harlow, Essex as Ivor Neville Kamen.

1984 – Ray Petri featured him on the front cover of The Face, showing him wearing a ski-hat, lipstick, orange roll-neck sweater and aviator sunglasses.

1985 – Appeared in an iconic Levi advert, which saw him stripping off in front of women in a launderette. 

1986 –  Sang with Madonna on hit Each Time You Break My Heart in 1986.

1987 to 1992 – Produced four records, including a cover of the Four Tops’ 1996 hit Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever. 

1989 – He performed the song Turn It Up on the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s film, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

2015 – Cherry Red Records released his debut album as a two-disc deluxe edition followed by the six-CD box set The Complete Collection in 2020. 

May 4, 2021 – Kamen died aged 59 following a long battle with bone marrow cancer.  

‘He was very weak but I was delighted to see him going for a walk with Lucinda but he barely managed to stay on his feet.’

He added: ‘Nick was a wonderful man and everybody around here knew him. He didn’t speak much about his days as a singer and to be honest, I wasn’t that interested. I just liked him for who he was.’

Mr Kamen’s body was brought out of his home shortly after 2pm as distraught friends and neighbours looked on.

They revealed that Lucinda is an old friend of Mr Kamen’s who moved in to help look after him.

One neighbour said: ‘Nick knew he was dying for quite some time and Lucinda was a great comfort to him.

‘Nick came from quite a large family and a lot of them would come to visit him too. He had a fantastic life but we will all miss him.’ 

Friends say he had been living at the property for around 15 years. 

Alongside a throwback shot today, Boy George wrote: ‘R.I.P to the most beautiful and sweetest man Nick Kamen!’ 

Duran Duran said: ‘So so sad to hear of the passing of Nick Kamen. One of the loveliest and gentlest men I ever met. He was a beloved friend to my daughter and her Mom. We shall all miss him. RIP Nick’. 

Comedian Matt Lucas tweeted: ‘If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there. RIP.’ 

And director Mark Lebon wrote: ‘RIP MY DEAR FRIEND’.  

Kamen, who was born in Harlow, Essex, first came to public attention when he appeared on the front of The Face magazine in 1984 wearing a ski hat, lipstick and aviator sunglasses.

The next year he starred in an advertisement for Levi’s in which he stripped down to wash his blue jeans in a public launderette and waited in his boxer shorts. 

Romance: Kamen dated famous women including the actress Talisa Soto, who he is seen with at the Brit Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel in London, England on February 9, 1987

Romance: Kamen dated famous women including the actress Talisa Soto, who he is seen with at the Brit Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel in London, England on February 9, 1987

Former flame: He embarked on a much-publicised romance with TV presenter Amanda de Cadenet from 1999 to 2001, after which he adopted a lower profile and was rarely seen in public

Former flame: He embarked on a much-publicised romance with TV presenter Amanda de Cadenet from 1999 to 2001, after which he adopted a lower profile and was rarely seen in public

Past love: The supermodel Tatjana Patitz, who Kamen dated. She is pictured on the runway at the Paris Fashion Week in January, 1992

Past love: The supermodel Tatjana Patitz, who Kamen dated. She is pictured on the runway at the Paris Fashion Week in January, 1992

Home: Kamen is understood to have died yesterday at his home in West London (pictured above this afternoon)

Home: Kamen is understood to have died yesterday at his home in West London (pictured above this afternoon) 

Collaboration: Kamen was best known for his Madonna-written 1986 hit Each Time You Break My Heart and the 1985 Levis 501 commercial, in which he famously stripped off in a launderette. Friends including Boy George paid tribute to him today

Susie Cave wrote: 'RIP Nick Kamen my sweet friend'

Collaboration: Kamen was best known for his Madonna-written 1986 hit Each Time You Break My Heart and the 1985 Levis 501 commercial, in which he famously stripped off in a launderette. Friends including Boy George (left) and Susie Cave (right) paid tribute to him today 

In the iconic advert, he was seen stripping off and washing his clothes in front of a host of onlookers to the sound of Marvin Gaye’s 1968 hit Heard It Through The Grapevine.

The advert, which was directed by Roger Lyons, led to a huge boost in sales for Levi and came forth in a countdown of the 100 greatest ads of all time.

It caught the eye of many – including Madonna – who reached out to Kamen, leading to their collaboration, when she sent him a song she had written with Stephen Bray. 

They then joined forces on the track and he became her protégé. 

Kamen launched a career in pop music in 1986 with the number five hit Each Time You Break My Heart from his eponymous debut album.

After contacting him, Madonna signed on to produce and sing backing vocals on the track. 

Music: The Essex born model, born Ivor Neville Kamen, sung 1986 hit Each Time You Break My Heart. He is pictured in 1990

Music: The Essex born model, born Ivor Neville Kamen, sung 1986 hit Each Time You Break My Heart. He is pictured in 1990 

Family: The star's brother, Barry Kamen, (pictured with Nick) was himself a famous model and stylist who fronted the Eighties Buffalo youth culture scene. He died aged 52 on October 4, 2015, after suffering a heart attack

Family: The star’s brother, Barry Kamen, (pictured with Nick) was himself a famous model and stylist who fronted the Eighties Buffalo youth culture scene. He died aged 52 on October 4, 2015, after suffering a heart attack

Farewell: Film director Mark Lebon, who is followed in social media by Dior director Kim Jones, was first to share the news with an image alongside a caption reading: 'RIP MY DEAR FRIEND'

Farewell: Film director Mark Lebon, who is followed in social media by Dior director Kim Jones, was first to share the news with an image alongside a caption reading: ‘RIP MY DEAR FRIEND’

Kamen’s second single, Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, a cover of the Four Tops’ 1966 hit, was less successful but reached number 16. 

In a BBC radio interview in 1986, Madonna said she was inspired by Kamen’s ‘charisma’ and ‘beautiful voice’, which led her to reaching out to him. 

After they were made acquaintance, Madonna volunteered to write and produce the song Each Time You Break My Heart, where she also makes a cameo, singing background vocals in the bridge of the song towards the end. 

His relationship with Madonna hit headlines in the Eighties while she was dating Sean Penn. 

It was claimed that she had cheated with Kamen – an accusation she staunchly denied despite claims although he was made ‘wildly jealous’. 

Kamen went on to have another public romance with famed wild child Amanda de Cadenet from 1999 to 2001. She was also linked to actor Keanu Reeves and Duran Duran’s John Taylor.

The Eighties icon who Madonna took under her wing after he sprung to fame in THAT 1985 Levi’s launderette advert before having chart success with hit the superstar wrote

‘If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there’, the comedian Matt Lucas tweeted today – encapsulating the pop star’s status as one of the decade’s most unforgettable sex symbols. 

Born in Harlow, Essex, as Ivor Neville Kamen, he later changed his name to Nick as he embarked on the path to stardom. 

He first came to public attention in 1984, appearing on the front of The Face magazine wearing a ski hat, lipstick and aviator sunglasses. 

But it was a year later when he would star in the iconic advert that would make his career. 

Start: It begins with the door of a launderette in small-town America swinging open in sync with the beat of hit single I Heard it Through the Grapevine before Kamen strips to his boxer shorts in front of watching women

Start: It begins with the door of a launderette in small-town America swinging open in sync with the beat of hit single I Heard it Through the Grapevine before Kamen strips to his boxer shorts in front of watching women

Levi’s ‘Launderette’ ad launched in the UK on Boxing Day, 1985, and became an instant hit. 

It begins with the door of a launderette in small-town America swinging open in sync with the beat of hit single I Heard it Through the Grapevine before Kamen strips to his boxer shorts in front of watching women. 

The promotion was an astonishing commercial success, sending sales of Levi’s 501 jeans up 800% to a point where demand outstripped supply, recalled Marketing Week. 

More significantly for Kamen, the ad won him the attention for Madonna, who contacted him with a proposal that they join forces on a song she had written with Stephen Bray. 

The superstar later recalled his ‘charisma’ and ‘beautiful voice’. 

Kamen’s second single, Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, a cover of the Four Tops’ 1966 hit, was less successful but reached number 16.

Boy George was among those paying tribute today.

He wrote on Instagram: ‘R.I.P to the most beautiful and sweetest man Nick Kamen!’

Actress Susie Cave shared a photo of Kamen on her Instagram Stories and wrote: ‘RIP Nick Kamen my sweet friend.’

Career: The pop star at a signing session to promote his album 'Nick Kamen' in 1987. He had a brief music career but appeared less in the public eye later in his life

Career: The pop star at a signing session to promote his album ‘Nick Kamen’ in 1987. He had a brief music career but appeared less in the public eye later in his life 



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button