Artist Sebastian Horsley, whose work included undergoing a crucifixion, has been found dead at the age of 47.
Horsley, who also wrote a memoir about his heavy use of drugs and prostitutes, was discovered by his girlfriend at his home in Soho, central London.
A play based on his writings, Dandy In The Underworld, opened at the Soho Theatre just days ago.
The play's director, Tim Fountain, said he was "devastated" and that Horsley was "hard wired for extremes".
"Extreme ways of living bring with them great risks as well as rewards," he added.
Horsley, who was the son of a millionaire, described his upbringing as full of "atheism, alcoholism and insanity".
He modelled himself on writers Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde, and often wore a top hat, velvet coat and red nail varnish.
In 2000, Horsely's attempt to be crucified in the Philippines had to be abandoned after the foot rest of the cross broke and he fell while nailed by his wrists. He was caught before any major physical damage was caused.
The artist, who underwent the procedure in preparation for a series of paintings on the subject, did not take any painkillers.
The artwork and footage of the event were displayed in London in 2002.
Horsley was barred from entering the US in 2008 due to openly admitting drug use, and said: "My one concession to American sensibilities was to remove my nail polish. I thought that would get me through."