JON OLIVA'S PAIN, the band led by SAVATAGE mastermind Jon Oliva, has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:
"It is with great heartache and sorrow that we relay the passing of our dear friend, bandmate, guitarist and brother Matthew LaPorte.
"Matt passed away in his home shortly after 6 p.m. on Wednesday. No information regarding his cause of death is currently available.
"Matt was a brilliant guitar player on all levels. He understood that instrument better than almost anyone. His knowledge of music in general was just amazing. His contributions to JON OLIVA'S PAIN and every band he ever played with was also without measure. He was truly a one-guitar army when he needed to be and his solo performances on all the JON OLIVA'S PAIN CDs will forever send chills down our spines. A near-20-year history and friendship with one of the true greats has now ended and we are deeply saddened.
"Matt was a fan of all kinds of music and instruments, having even embarked on a mission to conquer the hammered dulcimer...one of the hardest instruments to play. He was always trying to expand his musical horizons and influences. He marveled at the musical greats, both old and new. He was never one to rate his talents above others and often commented about the great new music and artists he had just discovered.
"Criss Oliva was without a doubt his most profound influence, and anyone who saw him play SAVATAGE songs knew that Criss was channeling his talents via Matt. Matt's attention to detail and always striving to play everything perfect is without comparison. We would sit for hours during rehearsals with him muddling over whether a guitar chord was played exactly as recorded. Sometimes frustrating, but always appreciated in the end. He was the professionals' professional when it came to his guitar skills, and the loss of such a talent will be forever felt.
"Matt was a gentle soul, and would avoid conflict at all costs. He got along with everyone and greeted all with a smile on his face. There was a shyness and almost embarrassment felt by him from the adoration of his fans around the world...and he had many. He was humbled by the love and respect music fans gave to him, but in a quiet way, that made him work just a little bit harder. His had a hilarious, twisted and often sarcastic sense of humor that was unique to him. A very funny man, indeed.
"We miss you terribly, Matt, and we will celebrate your music and life each and every day. That great band in the sky just got a whole lot better, and you are in the most peaceful place you could have ever hoped for.
"Until we meet again..."
Matthew Davis LaPorte was 40 years old at the time of his death.