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Pete Burns’ Changing Looks: ‘Right Round’ Singer’s Plastic Surgery Obsession in His Own Words

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Over 35 years after splashing onto the ’80s British pop scene as the frontman for Dead or Alive, Pete Burns has died at 57 following a heart attack. The band was set to release a new compilation, Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI, on Oct. 28.

The singer passed suddenly, his management team confirmed, calling the “special star” a “true visionary.”

Burns made his career start crooning hits like “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record),” but later, after leaving music behind, became known for reality TV stints and his dramatically changing appearance.

Pete Burns in 1981 — David Corio/Redferns
David Corio/Redferns
Pete Burns in 1985 — Phil Dent/Redferns
Phil Dent/Redferns

“I hope when I’m 80 — when I get to heaven that God doesn’t recognize me,” Burns said during a 2016 appearance on the U.K.’s Celebrity Botched Up Bodies.

It wasn’t long after Dead or Alive’s aforementioned 1985 single that Burns first began to experiment with plastic surgery. In fact, he said, that as “Right Round” rose up the charts, “I realized I was gonna be a visual entity and I had to look good.”

The first procedure? A fix for an earlier broken nose, decided upon after Burns’ self consciousness escalated with increased camera time and photographers who pointed out his “bump.”

Ultimately, Burns was wildly unhappy with the results, he told Botched Up Bodies, and underwent a corrective procedure — the first of nearly 300, the singer estimated.

After leaving the music industry for good in 2002 — following the release of his greatest hits album — Burns instead began to focus heavily on altering his looks.

“Four times at the nose, two sets of cheekbone implants, and the two out — lip augmentations,” he said, detailing some of his procedures during the Botched Up Bodies sit-down.

Pete Burns in 2002 — Fred Duval/FilmMagic
Fred Duval/FilmMagic
Pete Burns in 2006 — Goffredo di Crollalanza/FilmMagic
Goffredo di Crollalanza/FilmMagic

During a 2010 ABC interview he explained, “I see myself as my own clay, and I was remodeling it.”

Repeated operations lead to infections in Burns’ face and lips, and ultimately endless more corrective procedures. Further, the medication used in such surgeries led him to develop blood clots in his legs, heart and lungs, Burns told Botched Up Bodies.

Pete Burns in 2007 — Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Nearly 16 years ago, he was rushed to the hospital after a lip augmentation gone awry. Despite being on his death bed, Burns recovered through a 10-day stay that involved heavy use of blood thinners.

Though he survived, Burns’ teeth were forever damaged from the thinners. He required veneers and ultimately total reconstructive surgery.

“What I’m trying to achieve with my surgery, is my own personal satisfaction. It’s narcissism,” Burns admitted this year of continually going under the knife.

Pete Burns in 2011 — Mike Marsland/WireImage
Mike Marsland/WireImage
Pete Burns in 2012 — C Brandon/Redferns via Getty
C Brandon/Redferns via Getty

Even with his health in turmoil, Burns insisted he would never stop changing himself.

He asserted during his 2010 ABC interview, though, “What you see on the outside is a complete contradiction to something that’s on the inside.”