Sad news to report today, as iconic actor and heavy metal vocalist Christopher Lee has died at age 93. In recent years, Lee delved into heavy metal, using his thunderous low voice to create a pair of Charlemagne albums and three EPs consisting of holiday music and classic covers.

According to various media sources, including The Guardian, Lee died on June 7 shortly after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure. Christopher's wife chose to delay the announcement of his death so the icon's family could be properly informed first. Lee had turned 93 on May 27 while in the hospital.

Lee's most celebrated works as an actor came from his portrayals of Saruman in the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit films and bringing Dracula back to the movie screen, standing shoulder to shoulder with the immortal Bela Lugosi. It would take a serious effort to physically count all of Christopher Lee's film and television roles, but Lee found a new niche later in his life -- heavy metal.

Metalheads worldwide embraced Lee's journey into the genre, which he began to experiment with at age 90. The man's voice was truly epic, bringing an operatic sensibility to 2010's Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross and 2013's Charlemagne: The Omens of Death. Lee also brought joy to countless fans with his two Heavy Metal Christmas EPs and his final metal offering, 2014's Metal Knight.

In our recent Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? episode with Judas Priest, Rob Halford himself offered the ultimate complement to Lee, "He's amazing. He's incredible. He's got this incredible charisma." Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, who actually recorded music for Lee, added, "He's a very metal guy, he embodies the whole spirit of metal."

Rest in peace to a truly extraordinary man who inspired and captured the imaginations of countless people. In remembrance of Sir Christopher Lee, check out "The Bloody Verdict of Verden" and 'Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing' in the players below.

Christopher Lee, "The Bloody Verdict of Verden"

Christopher Lee, "Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing"

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