Sad news for metal fans everywhere: founding Lacuna Coil guitarist Claudio Leo, who also played for Italian metal band Cayne, has passed away.

Leo was an essential member of Lacuna Coil in the band's early stages, helping form the massive group in the mid-90s when they were known as Sleep of Right. The guitarist remained in Lacuna Coil until 1998, lending his talents to the band's self-titled EP, which was released via Century Media Records the same year Leo and Lacuna Coil went their separate ways.

After leaving Lacuna Coil, Leo and fellow ex-Lacuna Coil guitarist Raffaele Zagaria began Cayne in 1999, releasing their debut album, 'Old Faded Pictures,' in 2001. Cayne's most recent release is the 'Addicted EP,' and the band is scheduled to release a new album on Valentine's Day of this year.

Lacuna Coil vocalist Cristina Scabbia posted a heartfelt statement on her official Facebook fan page, paying tribute to her former bandmate:

It's with deep sadness that I inform you all know that our dear friend and ex guitar player Claudio Leo left us.

My deepest condolences to his family, close friends and the band Cayne.

You will always be remembered for your strength and positivity.
We love you, Claudio.

Cayne also memorialized their fallen guitarist with a simple update:

Goodbye Claudio. Rest in peace, brother.

No cause of death has been revealed as of this posting, although it has been reported that Leo was suffering from a serious illness recently. We'd like to give our thoughts to Lacuna Coil, Cayne and the family and friends of Claudio Leo. Rest in Peace.

Watch Cayne's Video for 'Addicted'