Bill Rieflin, who performed as a drummer for many bands, including King Crimson, Nine Inch Nails, and REM, has died at the age of 59, after battling cancer.
King Crimson’s founder, Robert Fripp, announced on Facebook that Rieflin died on Tuesday, March 24.
Fripp said he learned that Rieflin passed away from his wife, Tracy, in Seattle.
“Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 11.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you.”
King Crimson’s official twitter page also confirmed Rieflin’s death.
Bill Rieflin cause of death
Although a cause of death was not immediately revealed, multiple social media posts by his friends and fellow artists indicated that Rieflin died after he was diagnosed with cancer, according to Variety.
— KING CRIMSON (@DGMHQ) March 25, 2020
Tributes on Twitter
Bill Rieflin’s fans and fellow artists have been posting tributes on Twitter since news of his death broke.
— Toyah Willcox (@toyahofficial) March 24, 2020
Paying tribute to one of the most respected industrial drummers, Seattle-born, Bill Rieflin on @kexp 🥁 He played drums with Ministry, the Revolting Cocks, Lard, KMFDM, Pigface, Swans, Chris Connelly, and Nine Inch Nails. He was most recently a member of King Crimson. pic.twitter.com/2wyYZZyWcz
— Kevin Cole (@djkevincole) March 24, 2020
Today we lost a wonderful artist, tremendous human being and an integral part of Ministry’s developments and success…
Safe travels my brother on the way to your next universal gig.
— Ministry (@WeAreMinistry) March 24, 2020
REM’s Michael Stipe also paid an emotional tribute on Twitter, extolling Rieflin’s “beauty, his humor, his relentless curiosity and of course his incredible musical ear.”
Stipe recalled that he and Rieflin first met at a policeman’s bar in Seattle, where they drank and enjoyed music together.
View this post on Instagram
Bill Rieflin (1960-2020) It is with heavy hearts we acknowledge the death of our dear friend and consummate drummer, Bill. Bill sent me this picture last week of him and Lenny Kaye earlier this month when the Patti Smith Group were in town and they got to hang out. He was elated to see such great friends and gather at his favorite weird Chinese-American diner. A forever memory is decades old, when I first met Bill at a late night Policeman’s bar in Seattle, sat at a greasy table drinking scotch, and we listened to ‘Birdland’ off the jukebox in reverent silence and awe. His attentiveness to that song then and there indicated a lot to me about what it would be to work with Bill— which commenced to create some magical and beautiful collaborations and life long friendships. And so to Bill now, he is among all the fine points of the stars and we are looking up with love— and with our own reverence for his beauty, his humor, his relentless curiosity and of course his incredible musical ear, his time here with us so precious and golden. —-Michael Photo of Bill and Michael, West Seattle, 2019
Bill Rieflin’s death comes after Monsters and Critics reported that legendary folk singer Julie Felix died at the age of 81 after a brief illness.
Legendary country musician, Kenny Rogers, also died last week at the age of 81.
Bill Rieflin bio
Bill Rieflin was born in Seattle in September 1960. His career started in his hometown in the mid-1970s, and he became widely recognized as an influential participant in the industrial rock and industrial metal scene.
Although he was best known as a drummer, Rieflin played several other instruments and was widely praised as a versatile artist.
During his career spanning more than three decades, Rieflin played for many bands, including REM, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Ministry, and King Crimson.
He also played with Minus 5, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, and Pigface.
Although he was associated with many bands during his career, he rarely joined any band he played for as an official full-time member, Variety noted.
He worked with REM from 2003 until the group disbanded in 2011. He started playing with King Crimson as a drummer and later as a keyboardist in 2013.
He also released solo recordings, including Birth of a Giant.
He was married to Francesca Sundsten, a painter, who died in 2019.