The official Facebook page of Metal Church announced the death of their 55-year-old lead singer Mike Howe yesterday.

Howe joined Metal Church in 1988, replacing their previous lead singer David Wayne. The singer quit the band in 1996 because it was hard for him to balance his life and music at the same time. He was gone for almost 20 years and during his absence, he worked as a carpenter which was his family business.

He rejoined the band in 2015 and released 4 more albums in addition to the 3 albums they had released before their breakup. Howe stated in an interview with Sticks For Stones in 2018 that he didn’t want to come back to the band because of ‘nostalgia’ but because he wanted to produce something better than they did before. Howe was so satisfied with the end result of ‘Damned If You Do’ that he went on the road with the band afterward.

Going through a lot together, the band expressed their sadness through their announcement on Facebook. They stated that Mike Howe is a ‘true legend’ of heavy metal. They also asked the fans and others to respect their mourning.

Here is what they stated in their Facebook post:

“It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music. Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.”

Although it was announced that he passed away in his home in Eureka, California, there has been no statement about the cause of his death. His fans from all over the world are sending their condolences and expressing deep sadness in the comments section. They stated their shock upon receiving the news and wondered why he died as he was in such good shape.