Theatrical costume rockers GWAR will soldier on and continue their tour in support of Lust in Space despite the death Thursday of their 34-year-old guitarist "Flattus Maximus" (born Cory Smoot).
According to reports, Smoot's body was found on the band's tour bus early Thursday morning as the band crossed from Canada into the U.S. for a tour date. The Edmonton Journal reported that the long-running group is still slated to play in Edmonton, Alberta, at the Edmonton Event Centre on Friday night (November 4).
"It is with a sense of profound loss and tragedy that the members of GWAR must announce the passing of their longtime guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot, also known to thousands of metal fans worldwide as Flattus Maximus," band leader Oderus Urungus (born Dave Brockie) said in a statement. "Cory was found deceased this morning as the band prepared for a border crossing. There is no word as to the cause of death and the members of GWAR are completely shocked and devastated that this has occurred."
Smoot, who produced a number of the group's albums, joined GWAR in 2002 and was the latest in a long line of guitarists in the nearly 30-year-old act's history. He was distinguished by his Maximus costume, which featured a red face, dinosaur-head shoulder pads and reptile feet. He was found dead on a tour bus by bandmates just hours after the group played a Wednesday night show at Minneapolis' First Avenue club. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
The stage manager at First Avenue, Conrad Sverkerson, told the Minneapolis StarTribune that there was nothing unusual about the show on Wednesday. He said GWAR's bus left the club around 1:45 a.m.
"They're actually not the kind of guys known as partiers; they're really solid guys," Sverkerson said of the band, who've been playing the venue for more than 20 years.
Brockie said there are no plans at this point regarding the rest of the North American tour or the band's long-term plans for a possible replacement. "At this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear friend and brother, one of the most talented guitar players in metal today."
A spokesperson for the band confirmed to MTV News on Friday that the tour will continue as scheduled and that additional information about the group's plans will be released later in the day.