Martin Eric Ain, best known as bassist with Celtic Frost, has died after a reported heart attack. He was 50 years old.

Ain, real name Martin Stricker, was a co-founding member of the acclaimed Swiss metal band. He was also a member of its predecessor, Hellhammer, who formed in 1981. He remained with Celtic Frost from their founding in 1984 to their breakup 1993, then returned for the reunion that ran from 2001 to 2008. He went on to run DVD shops, clubs and bars in Zurich, where he was based, and was host of a popular weekly “Karaoke from Hell” event in the city’s Mascotte venue.

In their six-album career Celtic Frost became a major influence on a wide range of metal bands including Anthrax, Sepultura and Paradise Lost, while Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were said to have been fans.

Ain’s death was confirmed to 20Min.ch who reported: “He died unexpectedly on Saturday [Oct. 21]. ‘He suddenly collapsed when he switched to a different tram,’ says his close friend Jan Graber.”

Collaborator Graber added that Ain had no known health issues, while adding: “He was somewhat overweight, clearly.” He went on: “We only had lunch with him two weeks ago. he was as good as ever. Death was an important issue for him. Otherwise he could not have co-founded a combo like Celtic Frost.”

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante called Ain “one of the nicest, intelligent and creative people I’ve ever known” in a tweet. Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes said: “Another one gone too soon R.I.P.” And Michael Amott of Arch Enemy called him “One of the early purveyors of extreme musical darkness.”

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