Cory Smoot, who since 2002 has been playing the GWAR character Flattus Maximus, has been found dead.
Smoot had been a fan of GWAR during his high school years and, according to the Baltimore Sun, had always dreamed of joining the band. He got his chance in 2002 when the band needed someone new to take on the part of the armoured, farting alien following the departure of Zach Blair.
Although both the character and band were well-established, Smoot quickly established himself as a major part of the group - material he'd intended for a solo side project was "promoted" to be an official GWAR release and his nine years in the costume gave him "true Smoot" status.
GWAR's Dave Brockie issued a statement about Smoot's death:
It is with a sense of profound loss and tragedy that the members of GWAR must announce the passing of their long time guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot, also known to thousands of metal fans worldwide as Flattus Maximus. Cory was found deceased this morning as the band prepared for a border crossing.Smoot had also played without elaborate costumage for Locus Factor - as a drummer - and Mensrea, in his usual guitar role.
There is no word as to the cause of death and the members of GWAR are completely shocked and devastated that this has occurred. At this point there is no word on arrangements and the disposition of the remainder of GWAR’s current North American tour, nor are there any details regarding long term plans.
At this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear friend and brother, one of the most talented guitar players in metal today.
We ask that our fans and the media be respectful of our request for privacy for those that have suffered this terrible loss. A full statement will be coming in the next day or so, in the meantime please give your thoughts and your prayers to Cory, his family, and all the people that love him.
Cory Smoot was 25 years old.