Former Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dead

The 51-year-old musician collapsed at a show.

Nick Menza, highly-regarded drummer and former member of legendary metal band Megadeth, passed away after he collapsed on stage during a show in California, according to CNN. Menza was 51 was performing at an LA club on Saturday when he suddenly collapsed. Unfortunately, he couldn't be revived, and although yet to be confirmed, is suspected to have had suffered a heart attack. A family spokesman, J. Marshall Craig, confirmed the death to the Associated Press. Megadeth founder and lead singer Dave Mustaine wrote a heartfelt letter regarding Menza's passing.

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 onstage 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 [gold] 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.

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