On Wednesday, January 25th, RIOT guitarist and founder Mark Reale passed away due to complications stemming from Crohn’s disease in a San Antonio hospital. He was 56 year old.
Reale had been in a coma since January 11th due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He had battled Crohn’s for most of his life, working and performing while enduring almost constant pain and the side effects of treatment for his illness. He was in Texas bravely attempting to practice for the band’s scheduled shows, but was felled by a severe onset of Crohn’s symptoms, which eventually put him in the Intensive Care Unit.
Reale’s Riot bandmates have issued the following statement:
“To friends and fans of Mark Reale and Riot, we are deeply saddened to confirm that Mark has lost his battle with a lifelong illness. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated by Mark’s family, friends, and bandmates at this difficult time.”
Metal Blade founder and CEO Brian Slagel commented:
“I was a huge fan of Riot’s Fire Down Under album and got to interview them for my fanzine. Great guys and I was lucky enough to finally re-issue Fire Down Under and the other early Riot albums on Metal Blade. We signed the band for their second run, so to speak, and put out some records in the ’90s that did well, especially in Europe and Japan. It was a pleasure working with them and Mark was always a kind soul — an amazing player who really has a big time place in the history of metal. One of the really nice guys who put out some incredible stuff.”
“It’s a sad day for all of us RIOT fans today. We have lost one of the great influences in metal. For those not familiar with Riot, do yourselves a favour and have a listen. Riot have released albums in 5 separate decades and stand as one of the best metal has ever had to offer. You will be missed Mr. Reale…thanks for the music and may your “immortal soul” shine on forever through your music.