Original Malevolent Creation vocalist Bret Hoffmann has died at the age of 51. He was battling stage 4 colon cancer. His wife, Kimberly Karan Hoffmann, confirmed the news on Facebook. "Today is the saddest day of my life," she wrote. "I just lost my soul mate, the love of my [life] my best friend has passed away I will always love u Bret Malev Hoffmann RIP my love."
Malevolent Creation guitarist Philip Fasciana remembered his longtime bandmate, writing on Facebook: "Can't believe my best friend/brother has passed away! 40 years of friendship and 30 years of playing music together. There will never be ever anyone I loved more than Bret Hoffmann and writing music and traveling the world with. He was truly the best friend I ever had and will miss him deeply. R.I.P. my brother!!!!!"
Hoffmann was known for his distinctive death-metal vocal style, which he credited to the time he spent learning to sing more traditionally. "When I grew up, I knew I wanted to sing," he said in an 2015 interview with Metal Rules. "I was playing bass at first and I kind of sucked at it. I tried singing and sucked at it. So I went into my room for like two years and practiced singing old Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with [Bruce] Dickinson. I practiced those screams and could do them pretty good. Then when I transitioned over to death metal it worked because I learned the right way how to do those screams. It worked."
Hoffman handled vocal duties for Malevolent Creation over the course of many years and multiple stints, appearing on the band's first three albums, as well as 1998's The Fine Art of Murder, 2000's Envenomed, 2007's Doomsday X, 2010's Invidious Dominion and 2015's Dead Man's Path. He also fronted the bands Fire for Effect, Resthaven and Down the Drain.
As news of his passing spread, many of his metal peers paid tribute, including Slayer and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, who wrote on Instagram, "RIP Bret Hoffman, gone WAY too soon. What a pleasure it was touring together several years back, death metal legend you are,were and always shall be. Really sick of losing people in the metal community. [My] condolences to his wife and loved ones and band mates."