Bobby Hicks, the original vocalist for the Baltimore, Maryland-based progressive power metal band MYSTIC-FORCE, passed away on Tuesday, March 5 in Virginia. The reported cause of death was an internal infection due to liver failure. Bobby was diagnosed a few months prior and was told he had less than a year. However, the progression of his illness took him much sooner then expected. Born on August 29, 1960, Hicks was 52 years old at the time of his passing.Hicks laid down his dynamic vocals on three studio albums with MYSTIC-FORCE — "Take Command" (1990), "The Eternal Quest" (1993) and "A Step Beyond" (1995) — as well as several early demos, EPs, compilation albums and a bootleg live album entitled "Stagestruck... Live" (1991). Hicks and MYSTIC-FORCE parted ways in 1995 following the release of the group's third album, "A Step Beyond", and the band recruited new vocalist William Wren (ex-ORACLE), with whom they recorded a fourth studio album, "Man Vs. Machine". Following his departure from MYSTIC-FORCE, Hicks continued his musical journey with another Baltimore-based band called MANIFEST and recorded material with this group, which was recently issued on CD in Europe. His final stand was working with a Virginia based band called CRYPTAMERIA, which also completed a demo with Bobby, thus marking Hicks' final recorded appearance. In recent years, MYSTIC-FORCE made several attempts to resurrect the band with Hicks on vocals. However, all lines of communication were broken upon him moving out of the state of Maryland and never reconnecting. MYSTIC-FORCE was booked to perform at the 2012 edition of the Keep It True festival in Germany and a tour was slated to take place around the same time in support the reissued debut album, "Take Command". This, however, proved to be another failed attempt at an original lineup reunion, and MYSTIC-FORCE went ahead with the tour using replacement musicians. Commented MYSTIC-FORCE founding member and bassist Keith Menser: "Upon learning of Bobby's death, I found myself in complete shock. Then, once the facts were confirmed, a deep sense of dark depression hit me like a freight train. "In the years working together, Bob and myself became very close friends. Together we wrote most of the lyrics as a writing team. He was a very down-to-earth person, a creative writer and we understood each other's lyrical mindset. "In 1995, when his working relations ended with MYSTIC-FORCE, I stayed in touch with Bobby, our friendship remained strong and we even talked of a future project (band and album) together. This all ended when his father passed away and Bobby decided to uproot and move away, leaving all of his past behind. "MYSTIC-FORCE lost a great singer when we parted ways with Bobby. I personally lost a dear friend upon him moving away with no trails but always felt we would one day reconnect and once again create music together. Well, sadly enough, that dream has now vanished due to his passing, and though Bobby had so much more talent to give, without question he has left his mark in the hearts of many as a great vocalist. The people who knew him as a friend knew he was a good person with a huge heart. I'll forever hold on to all the great memories we experienced together. Bobby's in heaven now singing with all the other 'vocal gods' who have fallen thru the years; he's hanging out with his true idols — Ronnie James Dio, Carl Albert and Johnny Cash, among them. "May you rest in peace, my friend... You've passed on, but never to be forgotten... I'll see you on the other side, my MYSTIC brother" . The current MYSTIC-FORCE lineup — featuring vocalist Rick Mythiasin (STEEL PROPHET, ex-AGENT STEEL, REDEMPTION) — is working on a new studio album entitled "Modern Day Fury", which will be dedicated to the memory of Hicks.