Mike Howe, the frontman of heavy metal band Metal Church has died aged 55.
The news was announced on Monday on the group's Facebook page, stating he died at his home in Eureka, California.
"It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music," the post read. "We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time."
The cause of death was not revealed.
Colleagues and fans rallied around the group online and posted tributes to Howe.
"RIP my sweet friend. I have no words for this loss," said Queensryche singer Todd La Torre on Twitter. "Love and respect to you always."
Sons of Apollo vocalist Jeff Soto posted a picture of his first meeting with Howe in 2019, writing "condolences to his family friends and fans”.
The news comes during Howe's second stint with Metal Church.
He first joined the band in 1988 as a replacement for David Wayne, who died in 2005, and recorded three albums with the group, including 1991’s critically acclaimed Blessing in Disguise and The Human Factor.
Howe left the group in 1994, citing his disillusionment of the music industry.
"I left primarily because of the business of music and how difficult it was navigating management, record companies and outside forces that were ruining the band and my love of music," he told online magazine Loudwire last year.
“When I quit Metal Church and went off the road, I felt damaged about music in general that I loved. I felt hurt and angry about it all.
"I went to my first back-up profession, which was carpentry. I really enjoy working with wood and building things.”
Howe eventually rejoined the band in 2015, telling Loudwire the reunion was down to both parties feeling inspired again.
“I didn’t want to come back just for nostalgia – it had to be for the right reasons,” he said.
“It had to be the best stuff we’ve ever written, or it wouldn’t be worth it to anyone, especially the fans.”
Howe would go on to record a further two albums, XI (2016) and Damned If You Do (2018), the band's latest release, and tour with Metal Church across the US and Europe.
Supporting the group at some of these shows were Archer Nation. The US metal trio tweeted a picture with Howe after learning of his death. "We had great hangs on tours over recent years. Our deepest condolences to his family at this time."