Ben Graves, the beloved drummer most recently seen with sleaze-rock troupe Pretty Boy Floyd, died on Tuesday at the age of 45 after a battle with cancer.

Affectionately known as The Ghoul to his friends and fans, Graves was a terrifically powerful, hard-hitting drummer who came to public prominence when he joined horror-punk band The Murderdolls, also featuring Wednesday 13 and Slipknot man Joey Jordison, for a stint between 2002 and 2004.

Graves later played with industrial metal band Dope and trans-Atlantic rockers AntiProduct. Most recently, he was seen behind the kit for Pretty Boy Floyd. His distinctive style, which straddled the line between classic rock & roll and dark metal, meant that he was rarely without a gig.

The news was announced by Graves’ fiance, Lydia Munster, who posted on Facebook:

“This is incredibly hard for me to write this, but I know it is necessary because Ben has so many friends and fans. Most of you don’t know that Ben has been battling cancer for the last 11 months. It was his decision to keep his health very quiet. Ben passed away today, May 9th 2018, from complications due to his cancer. His diagnosis was grim but he fought a long and hard battle to try and beat it and overcome the odds,” Munster wrote.

“Some battles can’t be won no matter how hard you try. Please respect me, his family and close friends while we grieve. Even though we knew it was eventually coming, the complication was sudden and very unexpected. It’s devastating to lose someone you love more than yourself. My heart is broken, my heart died with him. We will be taking him home to Massachusetts. I will organize a memorial for Ben’s L.A. friends, details to follow.”

Concerns about Graves' health were raised when he collapsed during a PBF gig in Denver last year. No official reason was made public at the time, and we now know that he was privately fighting cancer.

His former Murderdolls colleague Wednesday 13 posted the following on social media:

“It is with deep sadness to report to all the fans, that Murderdolls drummer Ben ‘The Ghoul’ Graves has passed away. I will forever cherish the memories with you. Touring all over the world for the 1st time, living our dream and constantly quoting The Terminator and Commando movies. Love ya buddy, there will never be another Ghoul. See ya on the other side.”

AntiProduct frontman Alex Kane posted, “Ah fuck. Love you, Ghoul. Heaviest hitter in heaven. Worst news…”

An official Pretty Boy Floyd statement read, “It's with a heavy heart that I'm posting this but it has come to my/our attention that former drummer Ben Graves has passed away today due to complications with his cancer. We all loved Ben and I'm sure everyone that came in contact with him did as well…. R.I.P. Mr.Graves!”

We'd like to offer our deepest condolences to all of Ben's family and friends. He was a wonderfully talented guy and will be missed by everyone who came into contact with him and his work.

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