Metal Church frontman Mike Howe’s cause of death is determined to have been suicide, according to reports.
The band confirmed the news via Facebook on Tuesday (July 27), revealing that he passed away in his California home. “It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music,” the band wrote.
“Mike Howe passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.”
A spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department has now told TMZ that authorities have ruled his death as suicide.
Police in Eureka, California received a call on Monday morning (July 26) reporting an unexpected death at a home. By the time deputies arrived, they found the 55-year-old dead at the scene. According to police, drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the death.
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Howe joined Metal Church in 1988, after a two year tenure fronting California thrash metal act Heretic. He then fronted the band until they disbanded for the first time in 1996.
Howe didn’t return to Metal Church until almost two decades later in 2015, after the band had already reunited with Howe’s predecessor David Wayne and subsequently disbanded once more.
Howe made five studio albums with Metal Church – 1989’s ‘Blessing In Disguise’, 1991’s ‘The Human Factor’, 1993’s ‘Hanging In The Balance’, 2016’s ‘XI’ and 2018’s ‘Damned If You Do’.
‘Damned If You Do’ is Metal Church’s most recent studio album, though they released a compilation album ‘From The Vault’ in April of last year. The band revealed on Facebook earlier this month that their next album was planned for release in 2022.