Nick Menza, a drummer who played on many of Megadeth’s most successful tracks, died Saturday night after collapsing during a show. He was 51.
Menza was performing with his new band, Ohm, at the Baked Potato in Studio City, Calif., when he collapsed during the third song of the set, his management said in a statement. Paramedics attempted, but could not revive Menza. An official cause of death has not been released.
“Nick collapsed during the third song into a set with his band OHM,” said a statement from Menza’s management. “Earliest reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital.”
Menza was in the “classic” lineup of Megadeth, which, along with Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, helps make up metal’s Big Four. He played with the band for nine years before knee problems and a benign tumor forced him to leave in 1998.
The drummer contributed to some of Megadeth’s biggest records, including “Countdown to Extinction,” “Rust in Peace” and “Youthanasia.” Menza joined Ohm, which also has ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland, last year.
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine expressed shock about the news early Sunday, tweeting, “Tell me this isn’t true.
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
Ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman also posted about Menza, calling him a “great and unique drummer.”