A.J. Pero, best known as the drummer in the 1980s heavy-metal band Twisted Sister, has died. He was 55.
Anthony Jude Pero was on tour with the band Adrenaline Mob when members of that group were unable to rouse him on their bus Friday morning, according to an AP report. He was taken to a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he died of an apparent heart attack.
Pero joined Twisted Sister in 1982. He left the band in 1986 but returned in 1997, drumming on all of the group’s albums except “Love Is for Suckers.”
The New York-based rockers are responsible for such anthems as “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.”
The band posted an official statement on the Twisted Sister Facebook page that reads, “The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero. The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider called Pero “the final piece in a band that would become an international sensation and one of the greatest live rock acts to ever hit the stage.”
“His sledgehammer assault on the drums helped drive Twisted Sister and I to greatness, and inspired me to rock every single show,” Snider said. “My heart breaks knowing I will never feel the power of his beat behind me, or turn to see his face smiling broadly from the sheer joy he got from doing what he loved.”
Last year, the band toured the U.S. in celebration of their 30th anniversary.
Pictured above: Twisted Sister members Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, A.J. Pero, Dee Snider and Mark Mendoza in 2014.