Nick Menza, Megadeth drummer for more than a decade and part of the band’s classic Rust in Peace lineup, has died at 51.
Menza collapsed during a performance with his fusion band OHM in Los Angeles Saturday night and was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead according to a statement from his friend and biographer, J. Marshall Craig, and his manager, Robert Bolger. “Earliest reports indictate he suffered a massive heart attack,” the statement read.
“I woke up this morning to a text message from my son, with the news of Nick Menza’s passing. Shocked, devastated, and saddened don’t begin to describe my feelings,” wrote Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine in a statement on Sunday. “As a player, Nick had a very powerful jazzy flair, unpredictable and always entertaining, And as great a drummer as he was, the time spent with him as a person, a band mate, and a friend was even more fun. There were several times we discussed him coming back to the band, but for various reasons it never came together.”
“The Megadeth family take care of each other, and expect to hear soon about an initiative to help Nick’s children. All of us in this community are connected, take care of yourself and your loved ones. My deepest condolences go out to Nick’s family,” the statement concluded
Megadeth co-founder Dave Ellefson wrote, “Condolences to the Nick Menza family and friends. We have lost a gentle giant… A true artist and friend to us all. #ripnickmenza.”
Menza, the son of jazz saxophonist Don Menza, first joined Megadeth as drum tech for Chuck Behler, joining the band as drummer in 1989 after Behler’s departure. He left Megadeth in 1998 to deal with health problems.
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