Metal Band Singer Dies at 55

Heavy metal singer Mike Howe, of legendary thrashers Metal Church, has died at the age of 55. In a statement on Howe's death, the band wrote, "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."

The statement continued: "We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family's privacy during this most difficult time." At this time, no potential cause of death has been reported. Howe was a member of Metal Church from the late '80s until the mid-'90s, singing lead vocals on three albums in that timeframe: Blessing in Disguise (1989)
The Human Factor (1991), and Hanging in the Balance (1993). He later rejoined the band in 2015, and sang on two more full-length studio albums, including 2018's Damned If You Do.

In the wake of the news about Howe's passing, many of his fans and peers have taking to social media to mourn his death. "Just heard the sad news of the passing of Mike Howe," tweeted Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel. "We signed his first band, Heretic to [Metal Blade Records]. Then of course he went onto a great career with [Metal Church]. Really good guy and gone way too soon. Condolences to his family and friends."

"Words fail. We all lost not only an amazing singer, but a tremendously great guy," wrote Queensryche co-founder Michael Wilton. "Our bands crossed paths many times and we often spoke of touring together. Here is Todd with Mike and the guys in Metal Church at Rock Fest in Barcelona, Spain. RIP Mike Howe." Queensryche singer Todd La Torre added, "RIP my sweet friend. I have no words for this loss. Love and respect to you always."

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"Really sad to hear about Mike Howe, he was the first Metal Church singer I heard and always my favorite, he truly embodied the heavy metal spirit in both his voice and performance, even in recent years, such a shocking loss," a mourning fan wrote in a tweet.