Joey Jordison, founding drummer for the masked heavy metal group Slipknot, has died at the age of 46.

The rocker’s passing was confirmed in a statement from his family.

"We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 26th, 2021," the message read. "Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow. To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart and his love for all things family and music.”

A cause of death was not immediately revealed. The family’s statement closed by asking for “privacy and peace at this incredibly difficult time."

Jordison co-founded Slipknot in 1995 alongside percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray. The band self-released a debut effort in 1996 titled Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat., however its label debut wouldn’t come until three years later with the group’s self-titled LP. By this point, Corey Taylor had become the band’s lead vocalist, with Slipknot leading the charge in a new wave of heavy metal.

Jordison played on each of Slipknot’s first four official studio albums -- Slipknot (1999), Iowa (2001), Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) (2004) and All Hope Is Gone (2008) -- all of which reached platinum sales or better.

In December 2013, Slipknot posted a message announcing that they were “parting ways” with Jordison. He was eventually replaced by Jay Weinberg, son of E Street Band drummer Max.

"No band meeting? None. Anything from management? No, nothing,” Jordison later recalled of his messy departure in a conversation with Metal Hammer. “All I got was a stupid fucking email saying I was out of the band that I busted my ass my whole life to fucking create.”

In 2016, Jordison revealed that he was suffering from transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disease that affects the nervous system, deteriorating motor skills and, in some cases, leading to paralysis.

“I lost my legs. I couldn’t play any more,” the drummer explained. “It was a form of multiple sclerosis, which I don’t wish on my worst enemy.”

Jordison further admitted the condition played a role in his dismissal from Slipknot. “They got confused about my health issues and obviously even I didn’t know what it was at first. They thought I was fucked up on drugs, which I wasn’t at all," the rocker revealed, adding that he held no ill will towards the band despite how things ended. "I’ve been through so many things with those guys and I love them very much.

It’s unknown whether this condition contributed to the musician’s death.

Jordison’s career outside of Slipknot included stints with the bands Murderdolls, Scar the Martyr and Sinsaenum. He also memorably joined Metallica at the Download festival in 2004, filling in for Lars Ulrich who fell ill and was hospitalized shortly before the show.

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