Former Morbid Angel guitarist Richard Brunelle has passed away at the age of 55.
According to Brunelle’s sister-in-law, Megan Box-Brunelle, the guitarist died this past Monday, September 23. She did not give the cause of death.
Brunelle appeared on Morbid Angel’s first two albums, Altars of Madness (1989) and Blessed are the Sick (1991). He struggled with substance abuse, which was reportedly the cause of his split from the band in 1992, and spent fourteen months in jail for possession of cocaine in 2007/8. Although he was eventually replaced in Morbid Angel by Erik Rutan, Brunelle did return to the band for two additional live stints, in 1994 and 1998. In 1999, he formed a new band, Paths of Possession. He launched another new project, Mosaic Covenant, last year.
Former Morbid Angel drummer Pete Sandoval has posted the below tribute to Brunelle:
“This is really sad!
“So many great memories we shared together that I’ll never forget, hope and wish you are in a better place.
“My condolences to his family.
“I just received an email of his family letting me know about this sad new, please, a little respect guys, don’t ask me the cause of death or something like that, does it matter? he just passed away and that’s sad”
Adds former drummer/vocalist Mike Browning:
“I am beyond devastated and shocked about Richard Brunelle passing away on Monday. As of right now I only know that it happened on Monday and I had talked to him just this month.
“Here are a couple pictures from when Richard played his first show with Morbid Angel in 1985, we have always managed to stay friends over all these years and he was always a friend to me since 1985 and at least we managed to make the album that started it all back in 1986.
“I had always hoped that one day Richard, Trey [Azagthoth] and I would at least get together one more time to jam, even if it was only in the back room of my house, it was then and still would have been pure Magick!
“Please do not ask me what happened because I only know what everyone else knows right now.”
A memorial page for sharing memories of and tributes to Brunelle has been set up here .