The metal world was stunned to learn earlier this week that Metal Church vocalist Mike Howe has unfortunately passed away at the age of 55. Today, TMZ reported the death was ruled a suicide.
TMZ spoke to a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept. who noted Howe's official cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to hanging. It is officially being ruled a suicide.
No drugs or paraphernalia were found at the scene and investigators do not feel they were a factor.
On Monday, Metal Church announced the death. "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 Howe was Metal Church's vocalist between 1988 and 1995, and then again between 2015 and present day.
Metal Church collectively released this statement to Blabbermouth:
“If you knew Mike Howe, then you knew he was a truly good human being who loved his friends, his family and his many fans around the world. He would always go the extra mile to make someone feel good and he would always give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. We ask that you remember Mike in that way and for the amazing metal music he created.
“As to what really happened? He was victimized by a failing health-care system and subsequently poisoned by the venom of Big Pharma. In short and in essence, he fell prey to the real ‘Fake Healer’…enough said. #truth
“Godspeed Mike Howe, WE LOVE YOU!!!”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know that help is available. You can visit the website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-8255.