Mike Howe, longtime vocalist of the West Coast thrash/speed/power metal band Metal Church, has passed away at age 55. No cause of death has been given. The band broke the news, writing:

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. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the Howe family’s privacy during this most difficult time.

Mike joined Metal Church in 1988, replacing previous vocalist David Wayne, and he sang with the band on 1989's Blessing in Disguise, 1991's The Human Factor, and 1993's Hanging in the Balance, until Metal Church disbanded in 1996. They later reunited and did one more album with David Wayne before Wayne's 2005 death, followed by four albums with vocalist Ronny Munroe. Mike Howe rejoined the band for their two most recent albums, 2016's XI and 2018's Damned If You Do. He also fronted the band Heretic on their 1988 debut album Breaking Point before initially joining Metal Church.

Heretic paid tribute to Mike too. See a few more tributes from fellow musicians and watch a classic Metal Church video below.

Rest in peace, Mike.