Nick Kamen’s ex-girlfriend Amanda de Cadenet paid tribute to the Levi’s launderette model following his death from bone marrow cancer aged 59.
The Essex-born model, real name Ivor Neville Kamen, died at his £1million flat in Notting Hill, West London, on Tuesday. A swathe of celebrities, including Madonna, have since shared messages remembering the ‘most beautiful’ man.
Media personality Amanda, 48, posted a 1998 throwback image of Nick with her daughter Atlanta, now 29, on Instagram alongside a gushing caption.
Amanda and Nick, who had known each other since she was 14, embarked on a much-publicised romance from around 1998 to 2001, after which he adopted a lower profile and was rarely seen in public.
Touching: Nick Kamen’s ex-girlfriend Amanda de Cadenet paid tribute to the late Levi’s launderette model following his death aged 59 on Tuesday
Amanda joined a legion of stars in paying tribute to the model, who gained iconic status when he stripped off for the Levi’s 501 advert in 1985, which led to him changing his name to Nick, after being given the moniker in the ad.
In her own emotional tribute to her former love, Amanda penned: ‘So many feelings hearing that you are gone. This is a first for me. When an ex boyfriend dies. Feels odd posting anything on social media…
‘You weren’t even on this stuff. I have so many photos I have taken of you, but this is one of the sweetest and reminds me of how much you loved [Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor]. It’s from 1998. Reading all the tributes to you…
‘People sharing how kind you were, how talented and yes incredibly handsome. I think you would like most, but you would not like that the loudest take away was that you were in an Levi’s ad and worked with Madonna…
Romance: Amanda and Nick embarked on a much-publicised relationship from 1999 to 2001, after which he adopted a lower profile and was rarely seen in public (pictured in 1999)
Rise to fame: The model appeared in his career-making Levi’s advert in 1985 aged 18
‘So, I’m going to make sure we don’t forget that any notoriety you gained, was something you never embraced. It almost embarrassed you…
‘My experience of you, and our time together was that you spent much of your days making art, cooking,traveling, and chanting…
‘Your practice was the most important thing in your life, and I know that your last breath would’ve been Nam-myoho-renge-kyo . Hope you are with your beloved brother Barry now.’
Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō are words chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism.
Happy couple: Nick and Amanda pictured at 1998 premiere of Rounders
‘It’s heart breaking to know you are gone’: 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
Amanda’s daughter Atlanta, who she shares with her ex-husband Duran Duran bassist John Taylor, is now a model/blogger/DJ.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2001, Amanda said: ‘Nick’s the best-looking man I’ve ever seen, to me. There is never a time when he doesn’t look good. Never! Ever-ever-ever.
‘Which is great. Listen, I don’t see him for months at a time. So when I’m with him, I stare at him. You know? I watch my boyfriend while he’s asleep.’
In 1985, Nick 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.
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’
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
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.
Claim to fame: Nick (seen here in 1995) was best known for his appearance in an iconic 1985 Levi advert
Clearly hurt by the news of her protégé, in her own 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.’
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.
Despite extensive care, including stem cell treatment, he succumbed to the cancer after being in remission.
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
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.
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.’
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’.
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.
Amanda’s daughter Atlanta is now a model/blogger/DJ
Home: Kamen is understood to have died yesterday at his home in West London (pictured above this afternoon)
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.