On Sunday, May 18, Michelle Meldrum, leader of the band MELDRUM and former PHANTOM BLUE guitarist, was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California in critical condition. Three days later yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, May 21) she passed away as a result of a cystic growth on her brain that had restricted oxygen and blood flow to her brain, rendering her braindead.Michelle had just completed writing and recording MELDRUM's soon-to-be-released third album with drummer Gene Hoglan, along with the group's latest additions, Michele Madden (vocals) and Laura Christine (bass). The surviving bandmembers plan to release the CD later this year in tribute to their fallen bandmate. Those who knew Michelle recognize that she lived every moment for the music and was regarded as both an exceptional guitarist and a nurturer by her associates, friends, family and son. Meldrum, 39, is survived by her parents and three-year-old son Jake Thomas (father is EUROPE guitarist John Norum). Her family and bandmembers appreciate all the support that has been shown over the past few days through this trying time. A memorial tribute benefit will be announced in the following weeks. Michelle's former PHANTOM BLUE bandmate Linda McDonald, who played on MELDRUM's 2007 CD "Blowin' Up The Machine", commented: "Michelle passed away about 6:00 p.m. this evening [Wednesday, May 21] at the hospital. It comes as a complete shock and the impact will be felt by so many. She was a one of a kind and will be sorely missed. I don't really know what to say right now. Thank you for your prayers. I'm sure she heard them all. It is a very sad, sad day." Michelle Meldrum was born on September 28, 1968 in Detroit, Michigan to a family of musicians and actors, and moved to Los Angeles, California at the age of 13. She started her career in music by forming the thrash metal band WARGOD with drummer Gene Hoglan (DARK ANGEL, DEATH, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD), then moved on to become both co-founder and lead guitarist in PHANTOM BLUE. PHANTOM BLUE released its self-titled debut album on Shrapnel Records in the U.S. (Roadrunner in Europe and Japan) and eventually landed a major label deal with Geffen. While her career flourished, Michelle married EUROPE guitarist John Norum and moved to Sweden to form MELDRUM. After many successful tours with such acts as MOTRHEAD and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, she reunited with Gene in 2006 when he appeared as a guest on MELDRUM album and events. Inspired to once again collaborate, Michelle moved back to America where she and Gene began writing the third MELDRUM album together.
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