The death of Burke Shelley, bassist, lead singer and leader of Welsh heavy metal band Bundgie, was announced on Tuesday. His daughter broke the news from a hospital in Cardiff (Wales), without specifying the cause of death.
The news was announced by a report in the British newspaper The Guardian, which stated that he passed away peacefully in his sleep, prompting immediate mourning from the rock and metal world.
Over the past few years, Shelley has been known to have had a number of health complications, including Stickler syndrome, a “genetic disorder that can cause serious vision, hearing and joint problems,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
As if that wasn’t enough, he underwent heart surgery in 2010, which left him with complications as he continued to sing on stage, injuring his leg in the process.
Via Instagram, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich mourned the bassist’s passing and thanked him for writing two songs his band has performed on multiple occasions.
“Thank you Burke for everything you do for heavy music, and a big thank you for co-writing and writing two songs Metallica has been honored to record over the years, Breadfan and Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” Lars wrote.
Shelley was born on 10 April 1950 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. In 1967, he formed the rock trio Budgie with Tony Bourge (guitar) and Ray Phillips (drums). Four years later, they released their first album in 1971, which became the most listened to in the UK for many years.
Its importance in music is so great that the name of the band seems to be one of the main exponents of the heavy metal movement, which later flourished and reached its peak in the company of great bands such as Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin.
One of his biggest hits with the band was “Breadfan” from the album Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973), a commissioned tribute to thrash band Metallica as part of their album CoverGarage Inc.
Around the ’80s, the band had its ups and downs and member changes, but Burke Shelley was one of the constants who always kept the band’s name on the radar. The band’s last album will be released until 2006, the album You’re All Living in Cuckooland.