The 51-year-old musician played with the metal band from 1989 to 1998
Credit: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Nick Menza, who was the drummer of Megadeth from 1989 to 1998, has died at age 51.

The drummer collapsed while performing with his band OHM on Saturday night at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles. “He died last night doing what he loved,” said J. Marshall Craig, a representative for the family on Menza’s official Facebook page.

Menza drummed on some of Megadeth’s biggest-selling albums, including Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia, as well as Cryptic Writings.

“We all know the great and unique drummer that Nick Menza was, but he was also a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad,” former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman, who tapped Menza to play on several of his solo albums, wrote Sunday on Facebook. “I’m beyond sad, did not see this coming at all. RIP Brother.”

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine also commented on Menza’s death writing on Twitter, “TELL ME THIS ISN’T TRUE! I woke at 4 AM to hear Nick Menza passed away on 5/21 playing his drums w/Ohm at the Baked Potato. #nickmenzarip.” The band’s bassist, David Ellefson also paid his respects on Twitter: “Condolences to the Nick Menza family and friends. We have lost a gentle giant… A true artist and friend to us all. #ripnickmenza”

Last year, Menza, whose father is famous saxophonist Don Menza, joined OHM, a band that also includes former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. He had also played in Orphaned to Hatred and Deltanaut.