Former Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dead at 51

by Emily Krauser 10:11 AM PDT, May 22, 2016
Playing Former Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dead at 51

Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza died after reportedly collapsing on stage Saturday. He was 51.

Menza was playing drums with his new band, OHM, at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California, when he collapsed during the third song of their set.

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Menza's OHM band mates, Chris Poland and Robby Pagliari, confirmed the news in two separate statements given to ET.

"There are no words... just to describe what a great guy he was, let alone his creative ability and amazing talent," Poland shared. "Not enough words to describe. Just devastated right now. My wife showed me a photo he just Photo-shopped from when he was up north, where he looks like atlas holding up that ring. I mean, that's the kinda stuff he did just off the top of his head. I honestly think God ran out of ideas and had to have Nick, like, help him out. Because... why else?"

"When I was recently in the hospital, he was on the phone with my wife the whole time, just begging her to [let him] make her dinner, asking, 'Can I go get you guys anything? Do you want me to go shopping?'" he continued. "Who does that? You know, there's not enough words to describe."

Pagliari echoed Poland's sentiments. "[I'm] stunned. Just stunned," his statement read. "He was such a kind, generous human being and great dad. Probably the happiest he's been in a long time. He got a chance to see his kids for a couple weeks. In a year we've lost so many talented people -- we just lost another one. Great guy, great player, [but] most importantly, great guy. We're devastated with what happened."

"Our prayers go out to the Menza family and all his friends and fans," Poland and Pagliari shared in conclusion.

Both OHM and The Baked Potato also confirmed Menza's death on Facebook. The venue simply wrote, "RIP Nick Menza," while the band used the same sentiment and added, "In the brief time I knew you, it was a pleasure. We will miss you 'Machine.''"

The rock band's manager, Steve Bauer, told CNN that paramedics couldn't revive Menza at the venue. "The group's bassist texted me last night after it happened," he said. "We are all in shock."

Rob Bolger, Menza's manager, told BBC that the "earliest reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack," noting that the German-born drummer was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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Alongside Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, Megadeth was considered one of the "big four" metal bands. Menza played with the thrash metal group for nine years from 1989 to 1998, and once again in 2004. He recorded drums for four of the band's albums, which included three of their biggest, Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, and Youthanasia.

Megadeth's founder, Dave Mustaine, tweeted shortly after hearing the news of his former bandmate's death. "TELL ME THIS ISN'T TRUE!" he wrote. "I woke at 4 AM to hear Nick Menza passed away on 5/21 playing his drums w/Ohm at the Baked Potato. #nickmenzarip."

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Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman also took to social media to share his condolences. "We all know the great and unique drummer that Nick Menza was, but he was also a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad," he wrote on Facebook. "I'm beyond sad, did not see this coming at all. RIP Brother."

ET has reached out to Menza's reps for comment.