Published May 22, 2016Nick Menza, a longtime drummer for thrash kings Megadeth, died Saturday (May 21) after collapsing onstage during a concert in Los Angeles. He was 51 years old.
Menza was playing with his current band OHM at the Baked Potato venue when he collapsed during the band's third song. According to reports, he suffered a life-taking heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital.
Son of a jazz musician, Menza joined Megadeth in 1989 for their now classic album Rust in Peace and would go on to play with the band during their formative years in the '90s. While also appearing on such albums as Countdown to Extinction (1992) and Youthanasia (1994), Menza left the band in 1998 when he had to have knee surgery.
The news of his death was quickly confirmed by Menza's management team, as well as his former Megadeth bandmates.
Megadeth co-founder Dave Mustaine wrote on Twitter:
Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman said in a Facebook post: "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. [I] did not see this coming at all. RIP brother."
TELL ME THIS ISN'T TRUE! I woke at 4 AM to hear Nick Menza passed away on 5/21 playing his drums w/Ohm at the Baked Potato. #nickmenzarip— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) May 22, 2016
Meanwhile, ex-Megadeth guitar player Glen Drover also said: "I'm super shocked after reading the news about Nick last night. As some of you know, it was me, Nick, Dave [Mustaine], and Jimmy Macdonough in 2004, who became the first lineup of MEGADETH after the original breakup in 2001. Although it was short lived (with my brother Shawn taking over for Nick), it was nice playing and getting to know him a little for that very brief period. He seemed like a good guy. Very quiet, and what I remember most is that when he played drums, he used ride cymbals for his crashes. For those who don't know, it's very, very loud!!!!! But it's okay; I still have some of my hearing intact. Ha."