Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr has died at the age of 56. The legendary musician had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years, and although an official cause of death has not yet been revealed, the band reports that Burr passed away in his sleep last night at his home.

Clive Burr joined Iron Maiden in 1979, drumming on the band's iconic first three albums -- 'Iron Maiden,' 'Killers' and 'The Number of the Beast.' Burr left Iron Maiden shortly after the release of 'Number of the Beast,' and was replaced by current drummer Nicko McBrain by the time Maiden's next album, 'Piece of Mind,' dropped in 1983. Burr went on to perform for acts such as Trust, Stratus, Desperado and others.

“This is terribly sad news," comments Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris. "Clive was a very old friend of all of us. He was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out. This is a sad day for everyone in the band and those around him and our thoughts and condolences are with his partner Mimi and family at this time."

“I first met Clive when he was leaving Samson and joining Iron Maiden," says vocalist Bruce Dickinson, referring to the band they were both in prior to joining Maiden. "He was a great guy and a man who really lived his life to the full. Even during the darkest days of his M.S., Clive never lost his sense of humour or irreverence. This is a terribly sad day and all our thoughts are with Mimi and the family.”

To aid their beloved former drummer in his fight against Multiple Sclerosis, Iron Maiden began the Clive Burr MS Trust in 2002. The band periodically donated proceeds from live shows to Burr, aiding the drummer tremendously thanks to the heavy metal band's massive drawing power.

Clive Burr will always be known as one of metal's finest drummers. A true legend behind the kit, Burr's work remains essential to this day ... and we offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Clive Burr. Rest in peace.

Iron Maiden, 'The Number of the Beast'

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