Steve Bronski, who co-founded pioneering queer synthpop group The Bronski Beat, has died. He was 61 years old. No cause of death has been given, but band co-founder and former singer Jimmy Somerville wrote on Instagram, "Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man. 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."

That one song, "Smalltown Boy," which went to #3 in the UK charts, was groundbreaking in it's lyrical content, explicitly about a young gay man who leaves his close minded hometown for a better, freer life in the city. Bronski, Somerville and third founder Larry Steinbachek were all openly gay, which was a rarity in 1983, certainly for a group with hit singles, and did not shy away from political and social issues in their songs and interviews. The Bronski Beat's 1984 debut, Age of Consent, is a classic that also includes hits "Why" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."

Somerville left The Bronski Beat in 1985 to form The Communards, but Bronski (born Steven Forrest) and Steinbachek kept the group going till 1995. Bronski formed a new lineup of Bronski Beat in 2016, the same year Steinbachek died.

Rest in peace, Steven. Watch the videos for "Smalltown Boy" and "Why" below.

More From Brooklyn Vegan