UPDATE: On August 20th, Blake Meahl, guitarist and founding member of Huntress, announced a public memorial will be held for his partner and bandmate Jill Janus at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in West Hollywood this Friday (August 24) at 9 p.m. Guests are asked to say "We are here for Jill" at the door to gain entrance.
"Since Jill's departure, the amount of outreach and support from friends, fans and family has been absolutely incredible," Meahl stated on his personal Facebook page. "Let's get together and celebrate her life and the importance that we still have each other."
Jill Janus, frontwoman of the occult-themed heavy-metal group Huntress, has taken her own life, Blabbermouth reports. She was 43 years old. Casey Wood, Janus's longtime friend and former bandmate, shared the news via Facebook; Huntress' former manager, Jackie Kajzer a.k.a. Full Metal Jackie, confirmed the story to Loudwire. The band also shared a statement and a call for people experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out for help.
"It is with crushed hearts that we announce that Jill Janus — frontwoman for the California heavy metal band Huntress — passed away on Tuesday, August 14," the post on the Huntress Facebook page reads. "A long-time sufferer of mental illness, she took her own life outside of Portland, Oregon. Janus spoke publicly about these challenges in hopes of guiding others to address and overcome their mental illness.
"Janus was a truly special creative involved with numerous musical projects including her role as vocalist for female metal/hard rock cover bands TheStarbreakers and Chelsea Girls. In addition, Janus was co-composer and creator of an upcoming rock opera with Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Angus Clark and had a decade-long career as NYC DJ Penelope Tuesdae. Her musical career began in childhood.
"Beyond her accomplishments in the music world and her advocacy for mental health issues, she was a beautiful person passionate about her family, animal rescue and the world of natural medicine. She will be missed more than she could have ever known.
"If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress."
Janus formed Huntress in 2009 in LA. The group released three albums, 2012's Spell Eater, 2013's Starbound Beast and 2015's Static, and toured on Ozzfest 2016. As well as for her powerhouse operatic vocals, the singer was known for her courageous openness about her struggles with mental illness, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, a battle she first talked about publicly in a 2015 interview with Revolver. "I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder first, when I was 20. I started to show signs of it when I was 13, though, and I struggled with it through high school," she revealed. "But it started to get dangerous in my early teens. ... I was suicidal constantly. I was very suicidal early on in my life. Then in my mid-twenties, it shifted to full-blown mania, where I can't really remember much of my twenties." Looking ahead to a hysterectomy that she would have in July that year, she closed the interview by saying, "I know I'll survive. I've survived much worse." R.I.P.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.