GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot, known in the band under the alias "Flattus Maximus" was found dead on the group's tour bus just prior to their crossing into Canada. His cause of death has not been released.
Smoot's age was not immediately available, but several media agencies have listed it as 34. Smoot had been playing the part of Maximus since 2002, and debuted with the band on 2004's "War Party."
Smoot, is largely credited with steering GWAR more toward a modern heavy metal sound, and away from their core roots of early punk. In a statement, Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) called Smoot "one of the best guitarists in metal today."
Obviously, GWAR has changed actors before, so in the long term, this probably will not mean a stoppage of work for them. But this time it will be with a heavy heart, as fans and band members alike had come to think of Smoot as an integral piece of the band's latest incarnation. Smoot is arguably the most talented man to don the Maximus mask, and he will be missed. His death at such a young age raises many questions not only about his life, but about what his life could have been.
He will be missed.