Mike Scaccia, the guitarist for Ministry and Rigor Mortis, died on Saturday night at the age of 47. Scaccia was performing onstage at the Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas, as part of a 50th birthday celebration for Rigor Mortis singer Bruce Corbitt, when he collapsed. Shortly afterwards, he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The medical examiner listed the cause of death as a sudden heart attack brought on by heart disease, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports. Earlier accounts, including one from the rock blog Blabbermouth.net, attributed the collapse to a seizure and noted that Scaccia had reportedly asked for the strobe lights in the club to be turned off during the performance moments before he fell.
Scaccia was born in Babylon, New York, on July 14th, 1965, and formed thrash metallists Rigor Mortis in 1983. Six years later, the guitarist was invited by Al Jourgensen to join Ministry. The first full-length Ministry studio recording to feature Scaccia was the group’s most commercially successful release, 1992’s Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, which spawned such industrial metal classics as “N.W.O.” and “Jesus Built My Hotrod,” and was supported by an appearance on Lollapalooza that same year.
Additionally, Scaccia appeared on recordings by a host of Ministry offshoot bands, including the Revolting Cocks, Lard, and Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. The most recent Ministry album that Scaccia appeared on was this year’s Relapse.
On Corbitt’s Facebook page, the singer posted the following statement shortly after Scaccia’s passing: “My brother is gone! The only reason I am who I am is because of this man. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t even be in a band. RIP Mike Scaccia! The greatest guitar player I ever knew!”
Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen later posted a statement on the band’s Facebook page:
“I just lost my lil’ brother and my best friend – the 13th Planet compound is devastated, completely in shock and shattered,” the note reads, in part. “Mikey was not only the best guitar player in the history of music, but he was a close, close, close part of our family – and I just lost a huge chunk of my heart today. Our lives are forever changed. Life without Mikey is like orange juice without pulp – kind of bland. I have no words to express what this guy meant to me, my family, my career. . . . Everything!”