41-year-old EXODUS frontman Paul Baloff (birth date: April 25th, 1960), whose unique personality and distinctive vocal style have endeared him to thousands of metal fans the world over, will reportedly be taken off life support at midnight tonight, Saturday, February 2nd, after suffering a massive stroke Thursday night (January 31st) that has left him lying in a coma with irreparable damage to his brain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. Without any living immediate family members known (Baloff reportedly had an estranged half-brother and sister, neither of whom he was in contact with), the rest of EXODUS and various friends are making the decisions with the consent of his only contacted available relative, and they have reportedly decided that Paul “would like to go out as 'metal' as possible”.
Paul Baloff was the original vocalist of EXODUS who appeared on the group's most influential and celebrated CD, 1985's Bonded By Blood, a groundbreaking effort that is still being regarded as one of the greatest and most timeless classics the metal genre has ever produced. Although Baloff was eventually replaced in the band by ex-LEGACY (pre-TESTAMENT) frontman Steve "Zetro" Sousa, EXODUS never quite managed to reproduce or surpass the intensity level put forth on that monumental debut with any of their subsequent studio releases.
In 1996, a decade after his departure from the group, Baloff rejoined forces with drummer Tom Hunting, and guitarists Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt (plus newest addition, bassist Jack Gibson) to record Another Lesson In Violence, a live album documenting the band's sold-out performance in their hometown of San Francisco on March 8th, 1997. A vicious, unpolished testament to a musical legacy that still lives on in the hearts of thousands of fans, Another Lesson In Violence was a reaffirmation of EXODUS' undeniable and unmistakable influence on the current generation of metal bands, many of whom were too young to see the original line-up in action.
As EXODUS' former A&R guy at Century Media Records and a person that was instrumental in bringing the group back together for the recording of the above-mentioned live CD, I would like to express my sadness over the latest developments and offer sincere condolences to the rest of EXODUS and Paul's friends, many of whom are standing by his side during this most difficult of times. As was stated by someone who had just visited Baloff at the above-mentioned hospital, “the metal world is losing a true character and a genuine person.” I couldn't have said it better myself. —Borivoj Krgin