Victor Agnello, who'd been battling leukemia for more than a year, has died at just 50 years old. He was drummer with Laaz Rockit from 1983-89, and then again during a 2005-06 reunion, helping the pioneering San Francisco thrash band record four albums and two concert videos before leaving for a career in medicine.

A youthful Metallica was once one of Laaz Rockit's supporting acts, and the seminal group returned the favor with a 2011 opening slot at Metallica's 30th anniversary concert at the Fillmore.

By then, however, Agnello had returned to his medical practice. But not before powering Laaz Rockit's earliest music along using a then-unusual double-bass drumming style that has now become common in metal, according to Walter Morgan -- who worked as promoter on Laaz Rockit's 1988 European tour, the 2006 reunion shows, two appearances at Holland's Dynamo Open Air Festival and most of their California dates over the years.

"He was kind, always quick to help -- and that's the hard part of [this] loss: a great human being was taken from all of us," Morgan said. "With all these attributes, I was never surprised by his decision to leave music, to help people and become a doctor -- and a very good doctor, I may add."

Agnello had undergone a bone marrow transplant about a year ago, Morgan said. He died on June 1 at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. He is survived by seven children and his wife.