According to his manager, in the week before his sudden death, Avenged Sevenfold drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan appeared to be in good health and spirits. The 28-year-old rocker, who was found unresponsive in his Huntington Beach, California, home on Monday, attended a friend's wedding reception a few days before his death and seemed to be healthy and happy, said the band's manager, Larry Jacobson.
At the wedding, Jacobson told the Orange County Register, Sullivan talked about the Lasik eye surgery he'd recently undergone and the new car he just bought. "He was somebody who just had a warmth and an easy smile and a laugh, and he was as smart as they come," said Jacobson, who added that Sullivan referred to him as a second father. "You could sit and talk to him about anything."
Friends and family gathered Monday night to share their memories of the tattooed hard rocker with a gentle soul. Sullivan said the mood at the event ranged from "deep and somber to smiles and laughs as they began to reminisce about the experiences everybody had with him. ... He was a loving son and a loving brother — like no one you'd ever seen, and talented beyond people's perception."
Known for his walloping, machine-gun drums on songs like "Burn It Down" and his taste for tongue-in-cheek gothic songwriting on songs like the mass-murder epic "A Little Piece of Heaven," Sullivan was a kind soul not afraid to express his emotions, according to Jacobson.
"He was expressive. He'd tell you how he felt about you — you didn't wonder, because he'd put his arm around you," he said. "He knew how to tell his friends he loved them."
An autopsy performed Tuesday was inconclusive, prompting the Orange County Coroner's Office to order further tests to determine the cause of death.
Prior to forming in Huntington Beach a decade ago, Avenged Sevenfold's members were close friends growing up, and Jacobson said that close bond has made Sullivan's death even harder to take. "Never in my life have I seen a relationship like that," he said. "And I think the relationship the four have right now will help them get through this traumatic time."
The group has been working on its fifth album, and it was unknown at press time how it would proceed with the sessions in light of Sullivan's passing.