AceShowbiz - Former Megadeath drummer Nick Menza died on Saturday, May 21 after collapsing on stage during a show with his band OHM at The Baked Potato in Los Angeles. He was playing drums when he suddenly collapsed during the third song of the set.
He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His death was confirmed by the L.A. venue which posted on its Facebook page, "RIP Nick Menza." Nick was 51. The official cause of death is still unknown, but early reports indicated that he suffered a massive heart attack.
An eyewitness present at the venue told BLABBERMOUTH.NET, "It appeared to be a seizure but [Nick] stopped breathing. Two patrons took over and began CPR until EMS arrived. EMS worked on him for 25-plus minutes, including adrenaline shots, three shocks and non-stop compressions," but they were unable to revive him.
Shortly after the news spread, his former band mate at Megadeath, Dave Mustaine, released a lengthy statement to express his grief. "I woke up this morning to a text message from my son, with the news of Nick Menza's passing. Shocked, devastated and saddened don't begin to describe my feelings," he wrote.
Recalling his experience working together with the drummer, who was originally hired as a tech for the band before replacing Chuck Behler on the drums, Dave said, "As a player, Nick had a very powerful jazzy flair, unpredictable and always entertaining, And as great a drummer as he was, the time spent with him as a person, a bandmate, and a friend was even more fun."
Dave noted that there were discussions about having Nick back to Megadeth, "but for various reasons, it never came together." He added, "We've been in touch all along, he had come out to our shows recently, and he had remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger-than-life personality."
Sending his "deepest condolences" to Nick's family, Dave also talked about "an initiative to help Nick's children."
Prior to performing at the Rock N' Derby festival at the Schaghticoke Fairgrounds in Schaghticoke, N.Y. on Sunday, May 22, Dave shared more about the initiative. "The band has already agreed [to] do a benefit in California," he told Q103. "We're hoping to leave an open stage for all of the alumni for Megadeth to come there and play with us, so that we can help leave behind something for Nick's children, which I think had been kind of left in a bad way. We wanted to get all that stuff set up and right now the wheels are all turning in our camp."
Nick played with Megadeth from 1989 through 1998. He played on "Holy Wars", "Symphony of Destruction" and "Trust" among other hits.