Founding Sacred Reich rhythm guitarist Jason Rainey died Monday (March 16) after an apparent heart attack. He was 53.

His wife, Renee Novak, first shared word of the musician's death and presumed cause. The veteran Metal Blade Records thrash act confirmed the unfortunate news shortly after that. "Jason, we wish you peace and love," the group relayed in a message celebrating the musician's life.

Rainey (pictured above, third from left) was with Sacred Reich until early last year, having rejoined the band upon their 2006 reunion. He helped form the group in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1985 and performed with Sacred Reich until their initial breakup in 2000. Guitarist Joey Radziwill replaced him in 2019.

"My husband Jason Rainey passed away [an] hour ago," Novak announced on Facebook late Monday. "Most likely a [heart] attack. They worked on him for a half hour but they couldn't save him."

Sacred Reich later stated, "It is with deep sadness and broken hearts that we must announce that our friend, guitarist and founding member of Sacred Reich, Jason Rainey has passed away."

Phil Rind, the band's bassist and lead vocalist, also shared remembrances of Rainey on social media. Early Tuesday (March 17), the singer took to Instagram with an array of photos of the late guitarist. "My friend and brother has passed away," Rind said in the accompanying caption.

Last year, Sacred Reich released Awakening, their first album in 23 years. The band's most recent studio effort with Rainey was 1996's Heal. The guitarist also performed on 2012's comeback live album Live at Wacken.

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