Hank Von Hell, Turbonegro Singer, Dead at 49 | Revolver

Hank Von Hell, Turbonegro Singer, Dead at 49

Norwegian punk icon remembered by bandmates as "a warm and big hearted human"
Hank Von Hell 2019 Getty SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images, SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images
Hank von Hell
photograph by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images

Hank von Hell, the former vocalist of the Norwegian punk band Turbonegro, has died. He was 49. The news was confirmed by both his family and his longtime bandmates that the charismatic frontman, born Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby and also known as Hank von Helvete, passed away unexpectedly on Friday November 19th. 

"It is with immense sadness we received the tragic news that Hans-Erik «Hertis» Dyvik Husby has passed away," the band wrote in a social media post. "We are thankful for the times, the moments and the magic we shared with Hans-Erik in Turbonegro during the years 1993-2009."

They continued, "As a charismatic frontman who equally channeled humor and vulnerability, Hans-Erik was crucial for the band's appeal. He was a warm and big hearted human, a spiritually and intellectually seeking person who loved having a conversation with anyone. We are proud of what we created together as rock brothers in Turbonegro - the music, the characters, our whole universe."

"Hank Von Helvete remains an iconic figure in the history of Norwegian rock and popular culture, and also made a mark as a profile in the international roc & roll community," they added. "Actor, romantic artist and entertainer — through his life Hank left no doubt that he was a man for the stage, loving the spotlight and the room's attention. Our thoughts and hearts go to his family. Rest In Peace"

Von Hell jointed the Norwegian glam-punk provocateurs in 1993 as their third vocalist and remained active in their lineup up until 2010, when he left the band to pursue a solo career. Throughout his tenure in Turbonegro, Von Hell was largely recognized as the face of the group's raucous live shows and button-pushing lyricism, which wrapped socio-political commentary in a casing of dark satire that was often rude and no-holds-barred. 

Throughout his life, Von Hell struggled with addiction and mental health issues that often interfered with his ability to perform in Turbonegro, most notably during the band's hiatus from 1999 to 2002 in which the vocalist returned to his hometown to try and kick a heroin dependency. 

Upon formally leaving Turbonegro in 2010, Von Hell formed a new band called Doctor Midnight & the Mercy Cult and later released solo albums under his own name. On the day he died, his guest vocals appeared on the song "Black Hearse Cadillac" from Me and That Man's new album New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 2.