James "The Rev" Sullivan, drummer for hard rockers
"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan," the band announced on its Web site. "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 one of the co-founders of the group, which formed in Huntington Beach, California, in 1999, as well as the lead vocalist for an avant-metal side project called Pinkly Smooth. A7X (as the band is commonly referred to by fans) won the Best New Artist award at MTV's VMAs in 2006 thanks to their hard-driving metal sound, which mixes in elements of emo and punk. The group was working on its fifth album at the time of Sullivan's death.
It was unknown at press time how Avenged Sevenfold would proceed with the sessions for their third major-label album in light of Sullivan's death. The drummer and backing vocalist is survived by his wife, Leana MacFadden.