Former BROKEN HOPE guitarist Jeremy Wagner has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the passing of SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray:"There are three guys in SLIPKNOT who I regard as friends and they are near and dear to my heart: Mick [Thomson, guitar], Joey [Jordison, drums] and Paul [Gray, bass]. I love those guys and it pains me to no end knowing Paul is gone before his time and it hurts to see his bandmates and his young wife endure such a loss.
"The Paul Gray I knew was a warm, laid-back, and caring man. He was also enthusiastic, especially with music and the promise of being a father giving validation to everything he created in life.
"At any SLIPKNOT show, Paul was always cordial and concerned about my well-being and comfort. He'd be like, 'Did you get in okay? Are you hungry? We got way too much fucking food back here so help yourself.'
"Paul loved death metal and we had numerous discussions about bands and the genre and where he came from musically. I'd always tell Paul how SLIPKNOT had some of the sickest riffs ever, how crushing the bridge in 'Everything Ends' just makes me mental. In turn, Paul was a fan of my old band, BROKEN HOPE, and he penned a personalized and most flattering note to me that I've since framed and hung in my house. Moreover, when my current band, LUPARA, released our debut album, Paul Gray was the first guy to give us a 'big' endorsement by allowing us to use a quote he gave us for magazine ads and such. He was just a real fan of music and really, an authentic friend.
"Paul lived the life of fifty men. From his meager and tough beginnings to selling millions of albums, winning a Grammy, touring arenas around the world, and going on to influence countless people with his music. Paul's legacy is monumental, and his name, immortal.
"Paul Gray, forever considered as a gifted and respected artist and one of the nicest and coolest people I've had the pleasure of knowing. More important to me, I will remember Paul as one of my friends. I will never forget him, I will revere him, and I will sincerely miss him."