Masked metal band member was known as #2

Paul Gray, bassist for the bestselling masked metal band Slipknot, was found dead May 24 in a Des Moines, Iowa, motel room. He was 38.

Local TV station KCCI reported that there were no signs of foul play. The Polk County (Iowa) Medical Examiner’s office was scheduled to perform an autopsy May 25.

Gray — known to Slipknot fans as “#2″ or “The Pig” — had experienced problems with drug addiction, and talked frankly about his heroin and cocaine use in interviews. In 2003 he had faced possession charges (later dropped), after drugs were found in his car following a minor traffic accident. He later entered a rehab facility in Los Angeles.

Born in L.A., Gray later moved to Des Moines, where he became a founding member of the flamboyantly costumed nine-piece band. The band made its breakthrough with the 2001 Roadrunner Records set “Iowa,” which reached No. 3 on the national album chart; its 2004 successor “Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)” climbed to No. 2. Their 2008 collection “All Hope Is Gone” debuted at No. 1.

This spring, Gray joined Hail!, a group featuring former members of Judas Priest and Sepultura; he replaced charter member Dave Ellefson, who had returned to Megadeth.

He is survived by his wife, Brenna Paul.

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