San Francisco Bay Area metallers HEATHEN have issued an official statement regarding the tragic passing of their former bassist Mike "Yaz" Jastremski. The statement reads as follows:
"We are numb and deeply saddened by the death of our brother Mike 'Yaz' Jastremski, who passed on May 23, 2005 [at the age of 42] of a heart attack while going through detox. We are shocked at the news, because Yaz left us, HEATHEN, in June 2004 after deciding to seek rehabilitation. We felt it was more important to have Yaz clean as a friend than have him in the band, so we fully supported his decision. It hurts to know he died trying.
"It is within these moments we strive for some heartfelt expression or to say something meaningful, but find the loss of such words. How do you put into words the feelings you have about losing someone that has walked beside you for so many years?
"We always feel we have another day. We don't think about the words we hope never to have to write.
"There are so many things to say about Yaz, it could not possibly be said in any one statement. To know Yaz was to deeply love him. To say that Yaz was nothing short of amazing would understate the depth of who he was. No matter what we all remember about Yaz, we all agree on how he made us feel and how he touched our lives with his ability to make us laugh and cry.
"Yaz made every journey an adventure. We are sure this journey will be no different.
"Yaz, we will miss but not forget all that you were.
"We are asking radio stations to play 'In Memory Of' off the HEATHEN 'Recovered' album, one time for Yaz."
Jastremski performed on HEATHEN's classic 1987 debut "Breaking the Silence" before leaving the group a short time later to form PIGS. He eventually rejoined HEATHEN in time for their appearance at the August 2001 Thrash of the Titans benefit concert for TESTAMENT frontman Chuck Billy.
After leaving HEATHEN for the final time in June 2004, Jastremski was replaced in the group by Jon Torres, who had previously participated in such bands as THUNDERHEAD, WARNING SF, ULYSSES SIREN, LAAZ ROCKIT and ANGEL WITCH.