Francis Stueber, KISS frontman Paul Stanley’s longtime guitar tech, has died of COVID-19 at 52 years old. KISS stated in a social media post earlier this year that their entire crew was vaccinated.

Stueber worked on every KISS and Paul Stanley solo tour since 2002. He also appeared on an episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, taking the stage with KISS to perform for the troops. The tech also worked behind the scenes for acts such as Heart and the Offspring.

“My dear friend, buddy and guitar tech for 20 years, Fran Stueber died yesterday suddenly of Covid,” Stanley posted on Oct. 17. “Both on and offstage I depended on him for so much. My family loved him as did I. He was so proud of his wife and 3 boys as they were of him. I’m numb.”

KISS postponed a number of 2021 shows after both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley tested positive for COVID.

[KISS is] not allowing roadies or anybody else to be anywhere backstage unless they're vaccinated and the masks are on the whole time," Simmons recently told Ultimate Classic Rock.

“KISS and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows," the band wrote in a statement. "The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines.” [via Blabbermouth]

KISS’ next live performance will take place on the KISS Kruise X, which sets sail from Oct. 29-Nov. 3.

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