REM’s drummer Bill Rieflin has died aged 59 after losing his battle with cancer.
The Seattle-born musician, who lost his wife last year to lymphoma, played with the legendary US band from 2003 until their split in 2011.
Bill Rieflin alongside REM frontman Michael Stipe and guitarist Peter Buck on NBC’s Tonight Show
Bill had been part of long-running progressive rock band King Crimson from 2013 until 2016 and had worked with an electic list of artists including industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails and Brit pop star Robbie Williams.
But it will be his role in the iconic REM, who sold 85 million records worldwide, for which he will be best remembered.
It is not clear what type of cancer Bill was suffering from.
REM confirmed his passing with singer Michael Stipe writing: “Bill Rieflin (1960-2020).
“It is with heavy hearts we acknowledge the death of our dear friend and consummate drummer, Bill.
“Bill sent me this picture last week of him and Lenny Kaye earlier this month when the Patti Smith Group were in town and they got to hang out.
“He was elated to see such great friends and gather at his favorite weird Chinese-American diner.
“A forever memory is decades old, when I first met Bill at a late night Policeman’s bar in Seattle, sat at a greasy table drinking scotch, and we listened to ‘Birdland’ off the jukebox in reverent silence and awe.”
WE NEED HELP
Medics ‘already rationing care to virus patients with best survival chances’
UK cases at 8,077 as Prince Charles tests positive for Covid-19
Hantavirus spread by RATS kills man on bus after he catches disease in China
DEATH TALLY JUMP
UK coronavirus death toll rises to 427 after five more die in Wales
Coronavirus UK map – how many cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed?
PM vows new law to stop shops ‘profiteering’ with huge price hikes
Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1960, Bill began playing with local bands before joining the Ministry – an industrial metal group who gained popularity in the 1980s.
He began playing with REM in 2003 following the retirement of regular drummer Bill Berry.
Last year, his wife Francesca Sundsten, a painter, died after battling lymphoma.
Michael Stipe and REM perform in Berlin
For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online, where we will bring you live updates as soon as they happen, before anyone else.
TheSun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video