Avenged Sevenfold’s drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, was found dead at his home yesterday, according to Orange County officials. He was 28.
Sullivan was found in his home in Huntington Beach, California and is suspected to have died of natural causes. The Orange County Coroner’s office is investigating.
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan ,” the band wrote on Avengedsevenfold.com.
“Jimmy was not only one of the world’s best drummers, but more importantly he was our best friend and brother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy’s family and we hope that you will respect their privacy during this difficult time. Jimmy you are forever in our hearts. We love you.”
Sullivan was a founding member of Avenged Sevenfold, who formed in 1999. Known for putting a contemporary twist on theatrical metal and rejuvenating the glam scene, Avenged Sevenfold had a major hand in bringing metal back to mainstream music. In 2006, Avenged Sevenfold won MTV’s Best New Artist honor at the MTV Music Video Awards, beating out Rihanna, Panic at the Disco, Angels & Airwaves, James Blunt and Chris Brown.
Despite comparisons to Motley Crue and Guns’n’Roses, Avenged Sevenfold’s career took off more in the punk scene, playing numerous Warped Tour dates, before headlining both the Taste of Chaos tour and playing Ozzfest’s main stage.
Sullivan often boasted of his and the band’s appetite for the rock star lifestyle (the band’s first live DVD was titled All Excess), but the musicianship never suffered. With blistering guitar solos and elaborate, searing breakdowns, Avenged Sevenfold raised the standard of mainstream heavy metal. On stage and off, Avenged Sevenfold are known for their dedication to the genre – each sporting a sinister stage name, and matching garb. Sullivan was one of the band’s more outspoken members, often fronting interviews with his dry wit.
As a musician, Sullivan will be irreplaceable. Holding down the rhythm section with impressive dexterity and force, Sullivan also had a knack for songwriting. “A Little Piece of Heaven”, a fan favourite thanks to the animated video created by lead singer M. Shadows and Sullivan, is an epic tale of a mass murder, written with Sullivan’s deadpan humour.
Avenged Sevenfold announced in November that production had started on their fifth album, the follow-up to 2007’s self-titled album that debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200. No statements have been released as to where this next effort stands now.