We’re sad to report that former Budgie guitarist John Thomas has passed away at age 63.

As one of the earliest bands which inspired heavy metal, Welsh band Budgie is one of the genre’s most influential acts. Budgie formed in 1967 and lasted all the way until 2010, though roughly 10 of those years were spent on hiatus.

John Thomas joined Budgie in 1979, replacing Rob Kendrick after his short stint in the band. Thomas played with Budgie until the act’s first breakup in 1988, coming back in 1995 when Budgie reformed. Thomas was also part of Budgie’s second reformation in 1999, ultimately leaving for good in 2002.

John Thomas performed on three of Budgie’s albums: Power Supply, Nightflight and Deliver Us From Evil. The last two proved to be two of Budgie’s most successful records in the U.K.

Longtime Budgie drummer Steve Williams posted about Thomas’ death via Facebook:

No cause of death has yet been revealed for John Thomas. We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to Thomas’ loved ones during this tragic time.

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