Phil Taylor, the longtime drummer of Motörhead, died Wednesday night. He was 61 years old.
News of Taylor’s death was first confirmed by former bandmate Eddie Clarke, who wrote on his Facebook page, “My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes.” Motörhead’s official Facebook page has since confirmed the news.
Known to fans as “Philthy Animal,” Taylor joined Motörhead in 1975 and appeared on their first seven albums, including quintessential records like 1979’s Overkill and 1980’s Ace of Spades. He left the band in 1984, only to return three years later in 1987, and remained behind the kit until 1992.
In 2014, Taylor reunited with Motörhead during their concert at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England.
Update – Friday, November 13th: Motörhead frontman Lemmy has issued a statement on Taylor’s passing via Classic Rock: “I’m feeling very sad at the moment, in fact devastated, because one of my best friends died yesterday. I miss him already. His name was Phil Taylor, or Philthy Animal, and he was our drummer twice in our career. Now he’s died and it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive. So muse on that… We’re still going, we’re still going strong, it’s just first Würzel and now Philthy, it’s a shame man. I think this rock ‘n’ roll business might be bad for the human life.”
Watch Taylor perform “Ace of Spades” with Motörhead in 1980: