GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot, AKA Flattus Maximus, has died aged 34.
He joined the band in 2002 as the fifth guitarist to play the Flattus Maximus role in the Grammy-nominated band. No cause of death has been announced.
In a statement released to Metal Sucks, frontman Dave Brockie wrote:
"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. 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. At this point there is no word on arrangements and the disposition of the remainder of GWAR's current North American tour, nor are there any details regarding long term plans."
Between tours Smoot was also recognised as a record producer, having recorded music for the likes of Skeletonwitch and Municipal Waste as well as the GWAR albums "Beyond Hell" and "Lust In Space".
The Edmondton Journal (via Blabbermouth) claim that the band will go ahead with its scheduled tour date tonight (Friday) with support acts Every Time I Die and Ghoul And Warbeast, though this would contrast with the statement released by the band.
Lamb Of God singer Randy Blythe added to the condolences, crediting Smoot's technical ability and kindness:
"He was an awesome dude and a great guitar player, as well as a talented engineer and producer. I recorded guest vocals for a few projects at his studio (the Kris Norris project, the [Jamey] Jasta solo record) and as a friend he refused to take my money in payment for the sessions.
"He was always fun to tour with, hang with, and we will be deeply missed, especially in our hometown of Richmond. It was an honor to work with such a kind human being."
This video with about Smoot's signature guitar gives a sense of his creative sense of humour. UG would like to extend its best wishes to the family and his friends at this difficult time.