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Former Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dies After Collapsing Onstage

Rust in peace.

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Nick Menza, who played on many of thrash metal band Megadeth's most popular albums, has died after collapsing on stage while playing a show. He was 51.

Jim Cooper / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Megadeth in 1997. From left: Nick Menza, Marty Friedman, David Ellefson, and Dave Mustaine.

Menza was in the middle of a performance with his new band OHM at the Baked Potato club in Studio City, Los Angeles, when he collapsed late Saturday night, OHM's manager, Steve Bauer, told CNN.

Friends and audience members rendered aid until paramedics arrived, but were unable to revive him.

The official cause of death has not yet been released, though the Associated Press reported a suspected massive heart attack.

"The group's bassist texted me last night after it happened," Bauer said. "We are all still in shock."

Menza joined OHM – who are fronted by former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland – last year after their previous drummer died of a heart attack.


Megadeth, a California-born thrash metal band fronted by Dave Mustaine, are considered one of the "Big Four" bands who brought metal to the mainstream in the 1980s and '90s. The others are Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax.

Founded in 1983, Megadeth have now sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and continue to tour. Menza was Megadeth's longest-serving drummer, and played on their platinum record Rust in Peace.

He joined the band in 1989 and stayed until 1998, when he had a falling out with other members. He rejoined temporarily in 2004.

Members of Megadeth expressed their grief over Menza's death on social media Saturday and Sunday.

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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

Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman called Menza "a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad."

this deserves a repost, especially for those who did not see the magic Nick brought to OHM:... https://t.co/togD4UvOGd

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Condolences to the Nick Menza family and friends. We have lost a gentle giant... A true artist and friend to us all. #ripnickmenza

Country musician Electra Mustaine, Dave Mustain's daughter, said Menza was "like family to us."

.... I still can't believe Nick passed away. I know he was like family to us. #RIPNickMenza

Some fans posted fan art and photos of the drummer, making reference to some of the most popular songs he played on.

'Rust' in peace... #RIPNickMenza πŸ’€βœ¨

RIP Nick Menza. Music has lost another true legend! You'll never be forgotten! #Megadeth #Legend #RIPNickMenza

#RIPNickMenza It joins the heavenly choir!. Nick Menza. They needed a drummer for the party ❀️🎢✌🏼️

Ema O'Connor is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Ema O'Connor at ema.oconnor@buzzfeed.com.

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