Joe Ptacek, former vocalist of the long-defunct 1990s Illinois death metal band BROKEN HOPE, died last night (Wednesday, January 20) of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 37 years old.
Former BROKEN HOPE guitarist Jeremy Wagner has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding Ptacek's passing:
"It's with profound sadness and shock that [I report that] my friend and former bandmate — Joe Ptacek — has died.
"Joe was my high-school friend who formed a death-metal band with me called BROKEN HOPE. We always dreamed of putting out albums and touring the world. After graduating, we achieved a lot of those dreams and released five albums, performed worldwide, appeared in countless international magazines and did a video for MTV. We were on Metal Blade Records and met all of our heroes and performed everywhere…
"Not bad for two teenagers out of Wildwood, Illinois.
"After 2000, Joe and I lost touch until just a few years ago. In recent months, we reconnected, hung out and became friends again. I just chatted with him after the New Year as he and I had found a drummer and a rehearsal spot where we were to begin working to bring back a new, resurrected form of BROKEN HOPE.
"As of late, Joe was positive, healthy and had a mature and humble attitude that made me happy to see.
"I'm thankful to have known him in my lifetime and to have traveled many a mile and share many a stage with such an original character. Moreover, I'm thankful to have hugged him and to have made him smile the last time we were together. Why he chose to take his life, I'll never even begin to fathom, but I pray he's in a better place.
"So, to all of you extreme metal heads out there, I ask you to raise a toast in memory of Joe Ptacek, the absolute, hands down MOST BRUTAL DEATH-METAL VOCALIST EVER!
"Joe, I love you and I will miss you, brother…
"Your friend (who you affectionately called, Peck): Jeremy Wagner"
Added former BROKEN HOPE bassist Shaun Glass (current guitarist in DIRGE WITHIN):
"Today the loss of my friend and former bandmate Joe Ptacek comes way too soon.
"Joe was one of the most honest and unique guys I ever had the chance to be in a band with. Joe was, to me, the epitome of a death metal singer. I always said Joe was the 'real deal.'
"So please, remember Joe on this day and know that we all lost a great guy.
"Love you, bro."
BROKEN HOPE released five albums during the 1990s — all featuring Joe Ptacek on vocals:
1991: "Swamped in Gore"
1993: "The Bowels of Repugnance"
1995: "Repulsive Conception"
1999: "Grotesque Blessings"
Joe Ptacek: May 1, 1972 - January 20, 2010