MERCYFUL FATE bassist Timi Hansen has revealed that he is battling cancer.
Hansen went public with his diagnosis after it was announced that he wouldn't participate in MERCYFUL FATE's 2020 reunion. Filling in for him will be ARMORED SAINT and FATES WARNING bassist Joey Vera.
On Thursday (August 1), Timi released a statement via the Facebook page of Livia Zita-Bendix, wife of MERCYFUL FATE frontman King Diamond, saying: "There are many questions about why I won't appear as part of the MERCYFUL FATE reunion in 2020. The honest explanation is simply that I am currently fighting a fight against cancer. But believe me, I will fight everything I can to be ready.
"It's my big dream to be on stage again playing the old MERCYFUL FATE numbers in front of all of you very loyal fans. If this wasn't going to happen, I'd like to ask you to take good care of Joey Vera. I totally agree with King that he is a perfect 'stand-in,' so take good care of him."
The 60-year-old Hansen played in MERCYFUL FATE from 1981 to 1985 and again from 1992 to 1993. He was also a member of KING DIAMOND from 1985 to 1987.
MERCYFUL FATE will reunite for an unspecified number of concerts throughout Europe during the summer of 2020, including next year's edition of the Copenhell festival, set to take place June 17-20, 2020 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
MERCYFUL FATE's lineup for the shows will consist of Vera, King Diamond, Hank Shermann on guitar, Bjarne T. Holm on drums, and Mike Wead on guitar.
Said King: "We asked Joey Vera to fill in because he has a very unique style and sound playing with his fingers, much like that of Timi Hansen. This is very important, since the setlist will only consist of songs from the very first 'mini LP', the 'Melissa' album, and the 'Don't Break The Oath' album, plus some brand new songs written specifically in that very same style.
"This will very much be MERCYFUL FATE as we were in the very beginning, except for a brand new major stage production."
MERCYFUL FATE's last studio album, "9", was released in 1999.
MERCYFUL FATE will be remembered for its unquestionable mark on the history of metal with its innovative sound, complex arrangements, memorable melody, and its influence on bands that later took the genre to new heights.
In 1998, METALLICA paid tribute to MERCYFUL FATE by recording a medley of classic MERCYFUL FATE songs on the album "Garage Inc." Titled "Mercyful Fate", the medley included parts from "Satan's Fall", "Curse of the Pharaohs", "A Corpse Without Soul", "Into the Coven" and "Evil".
Lars Ulrich of METALLICA (a fellow Dane) played drums on a new version of MERCYFUL FATE's "Return of the Vampire" on the "In the Shadows" album, which came out in 1993.
Photo courtesy of Timi Hansen's Facebook page