MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has released the following statement regarding the passing of the band's former drummer Nick Menza:
"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.
"Originally a tech for the band, Nick soon displayed such talent and personality, it didn't take long for us to realize he belonged on stage with us, behind the kit. We asked Nick to join MEGADETH as our drummer in 1989. At the time, the band already had its first platinum album, which only served to stoke the fire. We all wanted world domination — with so much of our lives and dreams ahead of us. As we navigated through the pitfalls of life and the music business, our first album with Nick, 'Rust In Peace', and subsequent albums 'Countdown To Extinction' and 'Youthanasia', kept up the momentum. We parted ways after 'Cryptic Writings'. We, like all brothers, would disagree at times, but our bond was strong throughout.
"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 bandmate, 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. We've been in touch all along, he had come out to our shows recently, and he had remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger-than-life personality.
"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."
Menza passed away Saturday night (May 21) while performing with the band OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California. He was 51 years old.
Nick collapsed during the third song of OHM:'s set. Early reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. No other details are being released at this time.
One person who was present at The Baked Potato last night told BLABBERMOUTH.NET: "It appeared to be a seizure but [Nick] stopped breathing. Two patrons took over and began CPR until EMS arrived. EMS worked on him for 25-plus minutes, including adrenaline shots, three shocks and non-stop compressions."