Pioneering death-metal drummer Sean Reinert has died. He was found unresponsive at home in California on Friday, January 24th. He was 48 years old. No cause of death has yet been released.
Reinert was a longstanding member of the band Cynic, which he founded along with guitarist and now singer Paul Masvidal in 1987. In 1991, the duo branched out to work alongside Chuck Schuldiner on Death's 1991 death-metal masterpiece Human before returning to their main band upon the record's completion. Cynic would eventually disband in 1994 before regrouping in 2006, but Reinert left the group nine years later due to artistic and personal differences.
Masvidal honored his longtime collaborator on Facebook (see full post below), writing, "I am shocked and saddened by the loss of one of my oldest friends. We were karmic brothers, connected by something beyond both of us. So many memories have been flooding my heart and mind. From the moment I first met Sean in junior high school, I knew we had a connection. His gifts were beyond measure, and I'm grateful that we were able to make music together."
Despite the pair's creative split, the guitarist underscored, "In the end, all that remains is love, and that's what I have for Sean. There will never be another one like him."
Reinert was important not only for his musical contributions (fellow Death alum Richard Christy remembered him as "one of my favorite drummers"), but also because of his willingness to come out as a gay man in the extreme-metal scene alongside Masdival in 2014. The drummer told the Los Angeles Times in their coming-out piece, "I see all those old dudes out there just banging their heads to our records, and I have to think — 'That stuff you're banging your head to? That is some gay, gay metal, man.'"