The untimely passing of Stiv Bators is one of the most unexpected deaths in punk history. After years of onstage self-mutilation, brutal falls, and even an incident of theatrical hanging gone wrong that left him medically dead for several minutes, Stiv was hit by a car in Paris in 1990. He even walked away from the ER feeling fine, without seeing a doctor, only to die in his sleep later from a concussion. Bators, by all accounts a sweet guy, was mourned by many, including John Waters, who directed his brilliant performance as the dirtbag Bo-Bo in Polyester. The video eulogy you see below is a sincere moment of tenderness for the Pope of Trash, and a fitting tribute for such a lovely, disgusting punk legend.
In the director’s commentary on the Polyester DVD, Waters remarks that Bators’ girlfriend Caroline—who sprinkled his ashes across Jim Morrison’s gravesite in Paris—confessed to him that she snorted a bit of Stiv’s ashes to feel more connected to him
(Iggy Pop’s tearful videotaped condolences to Stiv’s parents are also quite moving, if you’re near a box of Kleenex.)