I am from New York; I was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, and would go to shows in the city all the time. Pete was a legend to me.
I had heard so many stories — tales, really — from guys like my college roommate Nick and my bud Sean Ford about this larger-than-life giant; by the time I interviewed him at MTV News, the dude was this mythical character who was bummed after posing for Playgirl, at the knowledge that the mag’s readership was largely male.
Pete died a year ago today: April 10, 2010. I couldn’t believe it. A few weeks ago, I spoke with Sal Abruscato for his A Pale Horse Name Death project, and we talked about Steele.
I knew that Pete’s heart had stopped, but couldn’t recall ever hearing what exactly happened…no coroner’s report, and a quick search of Google led me to believe this information may not have ever come to light. Sal explained what went down.
“His aorta expanded and blew up,” Sal said. “It was like an instant, massive boom. They didn’t even get him on the ambulance. He died right as they were taking him through the doorway to get him out of the house and into the ambulance.”
Doctors had warned Steele that his heart was weakened following years of substance abuse, and Sal said that, had he lived, there may have been an eighth Type O LP.
“The sad part is he was nine months sober, working on getting everything together again, and working on getting his head together about a new Type O record, and that’s basically it,” said Sal. “There was so much damage [to his heart] that he had done over the years, it was already in bad shape to begin with.”
Sal confirmed that no future Type O releases or re-issues are planned, but several tributes are in the works or have been released.