Drummer Mark "Bam Bam" McConnell, who was a member of former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach's touring band from 1997 to 2005, passed away on Thursday, May 24 in a Gainesville, Florida hospital. According to unconfirmed online reports, the musician's liver and kidneys had shut down, which led to partial brain damage.
McConnell's niece Erin McConnell, who is always referred to as his sister because they grew up together (raised by his mom), has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding his passing:
"On May 24, we all lost an amazing, incredibly talented and dedicated musician, Mark 'Bam Bam' McConnell.
"Mark's passing came as a complete shock to us all.
"The past few days have been intensely overwhelming in every respect. As his family, our focus has been directed at making sure we keep Mark's best interests in mind and to follow his wishes.
"We would like to thank everyone for respecting our privacy and giving us the time we need.
"Mark was taken from us too soon, but he lived life to the fullest and on his own terms.
"To all of us, Mark leaves behind his love and kindness, along with the humor and passion for music that he shared with everyone — family, friends and fans alike. He will never be forgotten.
"For the music industry, Mark leaves behind a legacy. He was and will always be one of the most gifted drummers in the world. His passion and madness behind the drum kit were unmatched. He played with some of the biggest names in the music industry, and everyone who had the opportunity to make music with him will tell you what an honor it was. Mark's spirit will live on forever in the hearts of many and through his music.
"We would like to send out our deepest appreciation to everyone for all the support, prayers and shared memories of Mark. This has helped us through our darkest time and even made us smile, along with filling our hearts with so much warmth. The response has been overwhelming, and if Mark could see the outpour of love on his behalf, he, too, would be in awe. We know that all of Mark's friends and fans are grieving and heartbroken by this loss. Know that Mark loved all of you, and you are all in our hearts and prayers. "
In a 1999 interview, Bach stated about McConnell, "He is on fire. When we toured in '98 with PANTERA, Vinnie Paul was like, 'Man, how many fuckin' pieces does your drummer have?' And for Vinnie Paul to say that. . . And Mark has always been a powerhouse. I am the luckiest guy in the world because I have Anton Fig from David Letterman's band on all of the studio tracks for 'Bring 'Em Bach Alive' and Mark on all of the live stuff, two of the greatest drummers in the world."