Joey Jordison, Slipknot’s founding drummer and co-writer of many of their biggest hits, died on Monday at the age of 46. A rep for his family said he died peacefully in his sleep but did not specify a cause of death.

“Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow,” reads a statement from Jordison’s family. “To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart, and his love for all things family and music. The family of Joey have asked that friends, fans, and media understandably respect our need for privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time.” The family intends to hold a private funeral service.

Jordison was playing with a group of Des Moines, Iowa metalheads who called themselves the Pale Ones and later Meld when he suggested they change their name to Slipknot in 1995. Within a few years, the band’s lineup expanded to nine members who wore nightmarish masks, they fused metal and rap aggression in a way that placed them at the vanguard of the nu-metal explosion. Thanks to steady touring and explosive live shows on Ozzfest, their 1999 self-titled debut went double-platinum. Jordison’s neck-rattling rhythms and death-metal blastbeats were a crucial ingredient to the band’s sudden success.

He stayed with the band through 2013 when left the band for what he described at the time as “personal reasons.” A few years later, he revealed that the reason he exited the band was a neurological disease. “I got really, really sick with a horrible disease called transverse myelitis, I lost my legs,” he told the audience at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2016, according to NME. “I couldn’t play anymore. It was a form of multiple sclerosis, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I got myself back up, and I got myself in the gym and I got myself back in fucking therapy, to fucking beat this shit.” At the time, he said he was rededicating himself to music with a new band called Vimic.

In addition to Slipknot and Vimic, the prolific Jordison played guitar in the glammy horror-punk group the Murderdolls and drums with the alt-metal group Scar the Martyr and extreme-metal supergroup Sinsaenum alongside members of Mayhem and DragonForce, and his pre-Slipknot resume included the bands Modifidious and the Have Nots. He also made guest appearances on recordings by Otep, Necrophagia, and Rob Zombie. In 2005, he assembled several supergroups for the project Roadrunner United, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of Slipknot’s label, Roadrunner; on five tracks, he played with dream teams that featured members of Type O Negative, Deicide, Life of Agony, and King Diamond’s band.

This story is developing.

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