The former drummer with the US thrash metal band Megadeth, Nick Menza, is reported to have died after collapsing on stage at a gig in California.
Menza, who was 51, is said to have suffered a heart attack during one of his regular sessions with his band OHM at a small Los Angeles jazz club, the Baked Potato.
The club posted “RIP Nick Menza” on its Facebook page in the early hours of Sunday . Dave Mustaine, co-founder of Megadeth, said on Twitter that he awoke at 4am to the news. “Tell me this isn’t true,” he wrote.
Marty Friendman, the former Megadeth guitarist, wrote on Facebook : “We all know the great and unique drummer that Nick Menza was, but he was also a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad. I’m beyond sad, did not see this coming at all. RIP Brother.”
Mike Simpson, a fan who said he was at the gig, reported that Menza collapsed before the third song in the band’s set. “ I was watching his band OHM at the Baked Potato tonight and he collapsed on stage. Paramedics were saying it looked like a heart attack,” he wrote.
One fan, Andrew White, wrote: “A huge part of my teenage years has passed away with this news”.
Allen Hall posted: “We lost an amazing talent and fantastic person yesterday. Nick Menza was the nicest and most sincere guy you should ever hope to meet. He would take the shirt off his back to help you if you needed it. He had a passion for artwork, not just metal music. His tastes were far wider than that genre, which always irked his manager.”
Menza, son of a jazz musician, played with Megadeth on several of its most successful albums in the early 1990s, including Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia. He left the band when he had to have knee surgery during a tour for the 1997 album Cryptic Writings.
He had been playing regular sessions at the Baked Potato club with the band OHM, founded in 2002 by another Megadeth veteran, guitarist Chris Poland.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016