Tributes are pouring in from all over the metal world following the death of Riot guitarist Mark Reale, who passed away on Wednesday (Jan. 25) at the age of 56 from complications of Crohn's disease.

SPV/Steamhammer, the Hannover, Germany-based label that released Riot's latest album, Immortal Soul, last year, issued the following statement:

With deep sadness we have to say goodbye to one of the most underrated guitar players and composers on this planet: Mark Reale.

With albums like 'Fire Down Under' and 'Thundersteel', he created timeless metal music which will stand the test of time for many more decades.

Last year's studio album 'Immortal Soul' on remains his legacy, and what an album it was: RIOT were back for the attack!

We will see how the remaining members will handle this but we think that Mark would be very proud of them if they continue and spread the music he created.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark's family, friends, and bandmates.

In a separate statement, former Riot vocalist Mike DiMeo, who was Reale's main songwriting collaborator for twelve years, expressed his admiration for Reale's artisic integrity:

I'm deeply saddened by the death of Mark Reale. He was a gifted songwriter, great musician and a true friend. I am honored and thankful that I shared many years with Mark touring and recording all over the world, memories that I will carry with me forever.

Even though, to some, it may seem that he did not achieve massive commercial success, the only thing that Mark cared about was making music that inspired him. He was a true artist and his music is a reflection of that.

To me, Mark's music is timeless... and I believe his many fans will see to it that his music lives on forever...

DiMeo concluded the statement by echoing the title of Riot's 1998 album, Shine On. "Rest in peace, Mark... I will miss you... and shine on!"

DiMeo joined Riot for 1994's Night Breaker. He recorded six studio albums and one live album before leaving in 2006 after their Army of One record.

Riot was rehearsing in Texas when Reale, who had battled with Crohn's disease for most of his life, took ill. He spent the last two weeks of his life in a coma in a San Antonio hospital.

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