Bill Rieflin, the drummer of R.E.M., Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and King Crimson passed away at the age of 59.
It was confirmed by his friend and former bandmate, King Crimson founder Robert Fripp. He explained in a social media post that Rieflin’s wife, Tracy, called him with the news.
“Tracy told Toyah (Fripp’s wife) and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you.”
RF: A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle. Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 11.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah…
Rieflin’s musical journey started in his hometown of Seattle, where he managed to play with a variety of local acts such as the Blackouts. The band’s final EP was produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, whom Rieflin became a close friend.
Rieflin’s official cause of death has not yet been announced, but session drummer Matt Chamberlain tweeted that Rieflin’s cause of death was due to cancer. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic also paid tribute to Rieflin via Twitter.
— Matt Chamberlain (@unicorntacodog) March 24, 2020
So sorry to hear of Bill Rieflin passing away. A straight up person and excellent musician.
— Krist Novoselić (@KristNovoselic) March 24, 2020
Today we lost a wonderful artist, tremendous human being and an integral part of Ministry’s developments and success…
Safe travels my brother on the way to your next universal gig.
— Ministry (@WeAreMinistry) March 24, 2020