Metal Guitarist Dead at 58: Jim Durkin's Death Confirmed by Family and Bandmates
Dark Angel guitarist and founding member Jim Durkin has died. The thrash metal guitarist's wife, Annie, confirmed his passing in a Facebook post on Friday, March 10, sharing "with a broken and heavy heart" that the "love of my life, my best friend and husband, Jimmy, passed away Wednesday morning." Annie did not reveal her husband's cause of death, though she said Durkin "was not alone as I was with him along with a few close friends until the end," adding that "he will be truly missed and no one can ever replace the love I have for him." Durkin was 58.
Durkin formed the band Dark Angel, originally under the name Shellshock before the band picked up their current name in 1883, per NME, in 1981 alongside vocalist Don Doty, bassist Rob Yahn and drummer Mike Andrade. The band quickly became a staple of California thrash metal, releasing their debut album, We Have Arrived, in 1985, followed by their popular album, Darkness Descends, in 1986. Guitar World described the album as "a vicious maelstrom of pace and punishing aggression that would set a template for many of the era's burgeoning doom and death metal groups." Durkin's final album with the band was 1989's Leave Scars. The musician left Dark Angel that same year, later returning when the band reformed for the second time in 2013. Durkin continued to play with Dark Angel until his death.
"We in the Dark Angel Family are deeply saddened and crushed today with the news of our brother and founder Jimmy Durkin passing away Wednesday morning," the band wrote on Facebook of his passing. "We would like to thank his fans for their continuous loyalty and support. We will come out with a full statement very soon. We ask that you please respect the family's privacy while we mourn the loss of this great man."
Dark Angel had several gigs booked for 2023 throughout North America, including an appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Festival in May. It is currently unclear if those performances will be postponed or canceled. Amid his passing, a GoFundMe page has been created to support Annie, Durkin's wife of 34 years. Money raised will help cover funeral expenses as well as medical bills. The page remembered Durkin as "a gentle giant with an incredible singing voice who would stop everything to move an injured animal -- insect, bird, reptile, mammal -- out of harm's way," adding that he was "known for creating ear-blistering, adrenaline-inducing, soul-slaughtering guitar riffs and writing songs that would become legendary in a genre of metal that his band helped create."