Bill Rieflin death: King Crimson drummer dies aged 59

Drummer Bill Rieflin
Bill Rieflin, King Crimson drummer, has died at 59. Pic credit: King Crimson/YouTube

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.

Tributes on Twitter

Bill Rieflin’s fans and fellow artists have been posting tributes on Twitter since news of his death broke.

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.

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.

He started playing for The Blackouts in 1979 after a stint with The Telepaths. He later joined Ministry, participating in the production of the group’s album, The Land of Rape and Honey.

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 joined King Crimson for the North American leg of their Radical Action Tour in 2017. He remained with the band until his death.

He also released solo recordings, including Birth of a Giant.

He was married to Francesca Sundsten, a painter, who died in 2019.

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