Sad news to report as original Y&T drummer Leonard Haze has passed away yesterday (Sept. 11) at the age of 61. The stickman was a member of the iconic rock outfit from 1972 through 1986, joining again between 2001 and 2006 and was recently active in HazeXperience.

Haze had been struggling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as both Y&T guitarist / vocalist Dave Meniketti and HazeXperience detailed in separate statements released in the wake of the drummer's passing. Meniketti posted on his Facebook page, "It is with shock and sadness that I type this. Leonard Haze, the legendary drummer, and a guy I spent decades with creating great music together, has passed away at 61. This, just a few days after his birthday. I just woke up to this news, as I'm in Germany, and immediately called his wife, Kelly. She confirmed that Leonard had passed away in his sleep, a few hours ago, sometime between noon and 7:30pm on Sunday, September 11."

Continuing, the frontman added, "Leonard has been struggling with COPD for years, but Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected. My deepest condolences to Leonard's family and friends. His impact on the rock scene was well documented. Rest in peace, my friend."

HazeXperience released a lengthy statement on their Facebook page, explaining how Haze was still committed to performing despite the disease that gave him issues breathing and that the band was in the midst of recording a new EP. "Leonard was not only a bandmate but a close friend, sharing not just a passion for music but also our appreciation for fast cars, cool RC planes and Fireball Whisky," guitarist Jim Bradley said.

Singer Jeffrey Winslow also had some words to say about his departed bandmate, stating,"Leonard was a good friend, a great drummer, and a true ambassador for the world of rock 'n' roll. I'm shocked that he's gone, but thankful I got to know him while he was here."

The band also detailed Haze's accomplishments, helping to thrust Y&T into the spotlight as one of the group's key songwriters and how his "drum prowess" further helped propel the band into opening slots for major acts like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush and more. Haze was also tapped to play on Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan's solo record Toolbox, touring with the band in the Soviet Union during the cold war and in 71 countries in total on the two-year trek.

In all, Haze performed on seven Y&T records, including Mean Streak, In Rock We Trust and Down for the Count, all of which broke the Top 100 on the Billboard 200 charts, save for Mean Streak, which fell just shy at No. 103.

Loudwire extends our condolences to the Haze family and all those who called the drummer a friend.

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