Paul Raven, the bass player with influential British post punk group Killing Joke, died in his sleep during the early hours of Saturday morning, at the age of 46.

Paul Raven, the bass player with influential British post punk group Killing Joke, died in his sleep during the early hours of Saturday morning, at the age of 46. He was in Geneva, Switzerland, where he had been recording. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack.

Born Jan. 16, 1961, in Wolverhampton, England, Raven earned his stripes in local punk band the Neon Hearts, with whom he recorded one 1979 album, and then Kitsch, which he formed with Tyla, later of Dogs D'Amour.

Raven joined Killing Joke in 1982, replacing original bassist Youth, and made his debut with the band on the 1983 single "Birds of a Feather. The band's 1985 album, "Night Time," was its biggest commercial success, reaching No. 11 in the U.K. album chart and producing the unlikely hit single "Love Like Blood."

Raven was fired from the band in 1987, but rejoined two years later. That lineup of Killing Joke folded in 1991, but Raven appeared in a new version of the band in 2003. He also played with Prong, Murder Inc., Pigface and Godflesh, in addition to touring with Ministry in 2006 and working on that band's albums "Rio Grande Blood (2006) and "The Last Sucker" (2007).

A statement on the official Web site of Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records said that, at the time of his death, Raven "was working with French recording artists Treponem Pal on their new collaboration with Ted Parsons (ex-Prong/ex-Killing Joke/Jesu) and members of the Young Gods in a small village on the French/Swiss border."

"We are all deeply stricken with grief at the unannounced departure of possibly the funniest man on planet Earth and a brother to us all: Paul Vincent Raven. Unimaginable sadness is felt by all," Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker said in a statement.

Funeral details have yet to be announced.

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