Terrible news for the metal world today, as it’s been announced that Alexi Laiho, the virtuosic guitarist known as the frontman and driving creative force behind Finnish band Children of Bodom, has died. He was 41 years old.
A statement released by Laiho’s label Napalm Records has not revealed a specific cause of death, but has noted that “Laiho had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.” Alexi apparently died in his Helsinki home last week.
“We are all absolutely shocked and devastated,” says Laiho’s sister. “We ask for privacy and understanding during these hard times. My little brother’s funeral will take place privately.”
“Alexi was the most loving and magnificent husband and father. Our hearts are eternally broken” says spouse Kelli Wright-Laiho.
Formed in 1993, Children of Bodom were one of the most exciting and promising young acts straight out of the gate. The band performed a mixture of European melodic death metal, grand-scale power metal, and ’80s sleaze that immediately attracted listeners who found the former genre too grave and the latter two genres without weight. So much of the band’s power came from Laiho’s unrivaled ability, with the guitarist showing off both his incredible technical musicianship and his solid songwriting chops on each consecutive album. At the same time, Laiho was known as a hard-drinking party animal whose offstage persona was often crazier than his professional one.
Bodom’s critical peak came in the mid-2000s, following the release of the band’s massive 2000 album Follow The Reaper and its even bigger follow-up record Hate Crew Deathroll. In 2019, Children of Bodom performed their final show at Icehall in Helsinki, after which it was revealed that all members except Alexi and guitarist Daniel Freyberg had quit. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Laiho would encounter legal setbacks in continuing to use the Children of Bodom name, resulting in the creation of his new project Bodom After Midnight, with whom the guitarist was working at the time of his death.
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Alexi’s family, friends, fans and collaborators during this difficult time.
Words by Chris Krovatin