Heavy metal lost another important name on Jan. 14 when former Diamond Head drummer Robbie France passed away at the age of 52. Diamond Head were one of the breakout bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, inspiring some of metal's biggest groups such as Metallica and Megadeth.

Born in Sheffield, England, France moved to Australia and studied at the National Academy of Rudimentary Drummers of Australia until 1974, when he began teaching his own students at the Australian Academy of Music at the young age of 15.

France began his career as a jazz-fusion drummer -- founding the group Carnival. France racked up over 1,000 television, radio and advertising credits as a musician, including eight documentaries and four film scores.

France took his drumming abilities back to England -- joining Diamond Head in 1982. France played on Diamond Head's third album 'Canterbury,' which included the hit single 'Makin' Music.' France remained in Diamond Head until the group broke up in the mid-80s due to creative differences between band members.

His reputation as an extraordinary drummer led him to tour with the influential British heavy metal group UFO throughout 1985.

France continued as a career musician, radio host and writer -- penning the novel 'Six Degrees South,' which was published in December of last year.

Diamond Head's influence on heavy metal recently came into play when Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax performed the band's 'Am I Evil?' during an all-star performance at select Big 4 shows over the past couple of years.

Diamond Head themselves paid tribute to their former drummer on the band's Facebook page. No official cause of death has been released.

Watch Robbie France Perform a Drum Solo With Diamond Head