Vocalist Steve Lee of Swiss hard rock veterans GOTTHARD was killed when a tractor-trailer skidded into his parked motorcycle on a rainy Nevada highway northeast of Las Vegas. He was 47 years old.
According to Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Fackrell, Lee was in a group of motorcyclists — which also included Lee's girlfriend, Brigitte Voss-Balzarini, and GOTTHARD bassist Marc Lynn — that stopped on the side of northbound Interstate 15, about 50 miles north of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to put on rain clothing at about 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday (October 5).
The semitrailer swerved and the trailer slammed into a parked Harley-Davidson motorcycle that hit Lee.
Lee, who had a British father and Swiss mother, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Lee had reportedly arrived in the States over the weekend and had begun a biking tour of the country with a group of friends.
Bassist Chris von Rohr of fellow Swiss hard rock veterans KROKUS told Switzerland's daily newspaper Blick, "I am speechless; I don't know even know what to say. I express my deepest condolences to his parents."
An official statement on the matter from the band's management and record company is expected later today.
It was only two months ago that Lee was involved in "a horrible car crash" in Italy while he was "on [his] way home from a little vacation." He subsequently released a statement through GOTTHARD's record label in which he said of the August 7 incident, "A car crashed into us on the motorway near Firenze, and it involved six other cars. As cars were slowing down, the person in the car behind us didn't notice that, and crashed into our car. Despite the accident, I want you all to know that I am OK. I guess I must have a 'rock-loving' guardian angel."
Formed in 1990, GOTTHARD's last 11 albums all charted at No. 1 in Switzerland. The band's latest CD, "Need To Believe", was certified platinum in the group's home country for sales in excess of 30,000 copies.
GOTTHARD was presented with the platinum-award plaques on January 9, 2010 at the "Swiss Awards 2009", which also included the TV premiere of the band's radio single, "Don't Let Me Down".
GOTTHARD's "Unconditional Faith" video can be viewed below. The clip was shot in Zagreb, Croatia in the summer of 2009 and it features performance footage filmed inside the boxing ring that was used in a movie in which boxing champion Henry Maske plays the title role of Max Schmeling.
"Need To Believe" was released on September 4, 2009 via Nuclear Blast Records.
GOTTHARD has opened for such renowned artists as AC/DC, DEEP PURPLE, BRYAN ADAMS and BON JOVI throughout Europe. The band has also had the honor of performing at the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival, is two-time winner of its native country's Prix Walo Award, recipient of Monaco's International Music Award, and has had its music featured on the soundtrack to the European television series "Frankie".
Swiss media coverage of Lee's death: