Dave Mustaine woke up to the shocking news this morning that his former Megadeth bandmate Nick Menza had collapsed and died at a gig on Saturday night (May 21). Megadeth played their scheduled gig at the Rock N' Derby in Schaghticoke, N.Y., on Sunday, where Mustaine spoke with local Albany rock station Q103 (a Loudwire Nights affiliate) about the tragedy and the band's plans to honor their onetime drummer.

“Tonight we are hoping to do a moment of silence,” Mustaine said before Megadeth's set, “and the band has already agreed [to] do a benefit in California. … We’re working out the details. ... We’re hoping to leave an open stage for all of the alumni for Megadeth to come there and play with us, so that we can help leave behind something for Nick’s children, which I think had been kind of left in a bad way. We wanted to get all that stuff set up and right now the wheels are all turning in our camp."

Menza was part of the band's lineup for their legendary album Rust in Peace in 1990, and also played on 1992’s Countdown to Extinction, 1994’s Youthanasia and 1997’s Cryptic Writings. There were discussions with Menza about him rejoining Megadeth prior to the band's most recent album, Dystopia, but it didn't work out. Mustaine adds, "People think we had this failed reunion attempt. There were several times that we tried to reconcile stuff, and it just didn’t happen for whatever reason. I don’t know why, but it didn’t. Now, I think it’s the time to remember Nick and his legacy of just great performances.”

In addition to the interview with Q103 (watch above), Mustaine also released the following statement via Megadeth's Facebook page:

I woke up this morning to a text message from my son, with the news of Nick Menza’s passing. Shocked, devastated, and saddened don’t begin to describe my feelings.

Originally a tech for the band, Nick soon displayed such talent and personality, it didn’t take long for us to realize he belonged on stage with us, behind the kit. We asked Nick to join Megadeth as our drummer in 1989. At the time, the band already had its first platinum album, which only served to stoke the fire. We all wanted world domination — with so much of our lives and dreams ahead of us. As we navigated through the pitfalls of life and the music business, our first album with Nick, ‘Rust in Peace,’ and subsequent albums ‘Countdown to Extinction’ and ‘Youthanasia,’ kept up the momentum. We parted ways after ‘Cryptic Writings.’ We, like all brothers, would disagree at times, but our bond was strong throughout.

As a player, Nick had a very powerful jazzy flair, unpredictable and always entertaining, And as great a drummer as he was, the time spent with him as a person, a bandmate, and a friend was even more fun. There were several times we discussed him coming back to the band, but for various reasons it never came together. We’ve been in touch all along, he had come out to our shows recently, and he had remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger than life personality.

The Megadeth family take care of each other, and expect to hear soon about an initiative to help Nick’s children. All of us in this community are connected, take care of yourself and your loved ones.

My deepest condolences go out to Nick’s family.

Menza is believed to have died from a massive heart attack at the age of 51. A number of other rockers expressed their condolences via social media. See their reactions here.

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