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Musicians Remember Staley

April 23, 2002 12:00 AM ET

The surviving members of Alice in Chains -- guitarist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney -- have issued a joint statement responding to the death of their band mate, singer Layne Staley. "Mostly, we are feeling heartbroken over the death of our beautiful friend," the statement reads. "He was a sweet man with a keen sense of humor and a deep sense of humanity. He was an amazing musician, an inspiration, and a comfort to so many. . . . We are proud to have known him, to be his friend, and to create music with him. . . . We love you, Layne. Dearly. And we will miss you endlessly."

Since news of Staley's death broke on Saturday, his peers and colleagues in music have echoed those sentiments. "We are heartbroken over the loss of our friend," began a statement from Seattle contemporaries Pearl Jam, whose guitarist Mike McCready formed grunge-rock supergroup Mad Season in 1994 with Staley. "He will be missed immensely."

A third founding member of Mad Season, former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, celebrated Staley's natural talent behind the microphone. "When he was at his peak of greatness, he was awesome to behold. His command of his voice and natural charisma was a very rare combination indeed and those of us who toured with him and saw him onstage remember the power he held. . . . He was an authentic artist in a time of impostors."

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Smashing Pumpkins principal Billy Corgan also expressed their sorrow. "I saw Alice in Chains at one of their final performances, opening for Kiss at Tiger Stadium," remembered Corgan. "Layne had an amazing voice that had such a beautiful, sad, haunting quality about it. He was different because of that heaviness in his voice."

Morello, who toured with Staley on 1993's Lollapalooza outing, said he would remember Staley as "the bright, funny and amazingly talented singer who got up there every hot summer day in a gorgeous suit and sang like an angry angel. . . . I hope now he is at peace."

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