Nick Kamen ‘s loved ones have shared that he was secretly battling bone marrow cancer for years before his tragic death.
The model, best known for his 1985 Levi’s ‘laundrette’ advert, died this week at his flat in Notting Hill, West London, at the age of 59.
The Essex-born star – real name Ivor Neville Kamen – was the protege of singer Madonna, 62, who took to Instagram to pay tribute to him shortly after the sad news emerged.
She penned: “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.”
Those close to Nick say he’d come back from the brink of death so many times that they’d affectionately nicknamed him Lazarus after he was first diagnosed with cancer four years ago.
Nick had gone through stem cell treatment and other extensive care measures before sadly succumbing to his cancer.
His 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 had last seen her beloved brother on Sunday and said family members had been taking turns to visit him and his partner Lucinda.
Speaking of her brother’s fight to survive, Denise added: “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.”
After his death, a number of stars paid tribute to him.
Little Britain’s Matt Lucas summed up Nick’s sex symbol status by tweeting: “If you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80s, you probably weren’t there.”
While Boy George penned: “R.I.P to the most beautiful and sweetest man Nick Kamen!”
Duran Duran’s John Taylor wrote: “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”
Nick was being nursed by his girlfriend Lucinda as he battled the disease.
His brother Ronald 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.”