Alexi Laiho, longtime frontman for the Finnish metal outfit Children of Bodom, has died at the age of 41. The acclaimed guitarist passed away last week at his home in Helsinki, Finland, after suffering from “long-term health issues,” according to a statement from his label, Napalm Records.
“We are crushed by the sudden passing of our dear friend and band member,” the surviving members of Bodom After Midnight – a band he formed with Daniel Freyberg, Mitja Toivonen, and Waltteri Väyrynen after Children of Bodom disbanded in 2019 – wrote. “Words cannot describe this shock and the profound sadness that we feel.”
Born in Espoo, Finland, in 1979, Laiho grew up in a musical household; his dad played piano and organ, while his mother played flute and sang in a choir. Laiho’s first instrument was the violin, but he was eventually drawn to the guitar, and he credits his sister for introducing him to the world of heavy metal. He formed the group Inearth as a teenager, before the group changed its name to Children of Bodom in 1997. They released a series of successful albums, beginning with their 1997 debut Something Wild and including the critically acclaimed LPs Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper, and Hate Crew Deathroll. The group’s most recent album was 2019’s Hexed.
In addition to Children of Bodom, Laiho also played in Sinergy, Warmen, Kylähullut, and the Local Band. Prior to his death, Bodom After Midnight recorded three songs and a video that will be released posthumously, according to their publicist.
Laiha’s three longtime Children of Bodom bandmates — Jaska Raatikainen, Henkka T. Blacksmith, and Janne Wirman — published a statement via Facebook: “More than 25 years of friendship. We lost a brother. The world lost a phenomenal song writer and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Memories and Alexi’s music will live forever. Our thoughts are with Alexi’s family during this difficult time.”
Laiho’s wife, Kelli Wright-Laiho, wrote in a statement: “Alexi was the most loving and magnificent husband and father. Our hearts are eternally broken.”