Sad news to report as the metal world has lost another one of its members. Gabriel 'Negru' Mafa, co-founder of the Romanian atmospheric folk metal outfit Negura Bunget, has passed away at the age of 42.

Frontman Tibor Kati made the announcement via Facebook (post below), authoring a statement that reads as follows:

With great grief in our souls, we inform you that our friend and colleague, Gabriel "Negru" Mafa, passed today, March 21st 2017, aged 42.
We deeply regret the death of the man who founded and maintained Negură Bunget and who dedicated his life to the sacred side of our culture, bringing it to life through music and transmitting it to various generations from all over the world.
We hope that his legacy will continue to enchant and console those whom he left behind.
With regret and sadness, we offer our condolences to his family and to those who knew and cherished him in this life.

Negura Bunget was founded in 1995, having released eight full length albums since their inception. The band's 2007 album Om gained considerable traction in the underground, landing on several year-end lists, cementing Negura Bunget's place as cult icons.

In 2009, Sol Faur and Hupogrammos, two of the band's co-founders, and Negru had a disagreement, leading the two sides to split. Negru continued under Negura Bunget, though it has been alleged that this stood in contrast to an agreement he had with his former bandmates, who went on to form Dordeduh.

Having recruited a new lineup which has changed numerous times over the years, Negru continued to hold down the drum throne, also contributing to the band's native folk sound playing a variety of instruments including the dulcimer, tulnic, toacă and xylophone.

Loudwire extends our condolences to the Mafa family, Negru's bandmates and friends.

Negura Bunget, Om

Rockers We Lost in 2016