How Did Slipknot’s Founding Drummer, Joey Jordison, Die?

Slipknot has been in the heavy metal music scene for decades, and the Des Moines group has gone through several phases throughout its over 20-year run. One of its founding members, Joey Jordison, died recently, and it has led many fans and those less familiar with the band to become curious about his life, his death, and his overall impact on music. Find out more about Jordison below. 

Joey Jordison’s death earlier this year

CNN reports that Jordison passed away at the age of 46 on July 26th, 2021. His family released a statement to share the news, stating that the drummer had passed away in his sleep and that, “Joey’s death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow.” The statement also mentioned that, “To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart, and his love for all things family and music.”

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first member of the founding group of Slipknot to pass away at an early age. Paul Gray, the original bassist, died of an overdose in 2010. Upon hearing the news of Jordison’s death, many wondered if Jordison died of the same cause. According to TMZ, however, there were no illegal drugs found at the scene and no foul place is suspected. 

Jordison was found in his house by his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Victoria, who was in charge of his affairs. His family hadn’t heard from him for several days, so she went to go check on him and found him dead. She once described Jordison as a “bad alcoholic [with] some other health issues.”

Jordison’s previous health concerns

Joey Jordison
Joey Jordison | Steve Brown/Photoshot/Getty Images

Although there is not yet an official cause of death, some have speculated that it may have something to do with the illness he had suffered from throughout the 2010s called acute transverse myelitis. There was a controversy with Slipknot when the band had announced that Jordison had left the band in 2013, as many accused them of dismissing Jordison after his symptoms began showing up in 2010.

 Jordison later clarified on his own Facebook page that he “did not quit Slipknot” and was “blindsided” and “shocked” by the news. Both sides agreed not to release details, until Jordison spoke with Metal Hammer in 2016. In that interview, he talked about how he began to lose the use of his left leg at first, followed by both, rendering him unable to play drums before he entered rehabilitation. 

According to The National Institute of Health, the condition consists of inflammation of the spinal cord that can interfere with central nervous signaling throughout the body, which can lead to paralysis, weakness in limbs, and more. Jordison told Metal Hammer, “I got myself back up, and I got myself in the gym, and I got myself back in therapy to beat this fucking shit.” Jordison was able to resume playing drums with the band Sinsaenum, and he joined them in 2016. 

Jordison’s accolades and impacts

Jordison has a long list of accolades, including being voted the best drummer of the previous 25 years Rhythm magazine readers in 2010. That same year, he won the Drummies Award for Best Metal drummer. Loudwire magazine conducted a poll in 2013 with its readers, and Jordison was named the world’s greatest metal drummer. 

According to Consequence, after learning of his death, the members of Slipknot released a statement saying, “Joey’s impact on Slipknot, on our lives, and on the music he loved, is incalculable. Without him there would be no us. We mourn his loss with the entire Slipknot family. We love you, Joey.”

Alex Bent, a drummer for the heavy metal bands Arkaik, Dragonloard, and Trivium tweeted, “I don’t have words, to call him an inspiration would be an understatement. Countless hours studying every move behind the kit. I owe so much to Joey Jordison and could never imagine being where I am today without his influence. RIP”

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