The Mars Volta keyboardist Jeremy Michael Ward, also a member of Defacto, died on May 25 from an apparent drug overdose, according to Defacto's record company Gold Standard Labs (GSL). The 27-year-old

The Mars Volta keyboardist Jeremy Michael Ward, also a member of Defacto, died on May 25 from an apparent drug overdose, according to Defacto's record company Gold Standard Labs (GSL). The 27-year-old Ward had served as "sound manipulator" for the Mars Volta -- also comprised of former At The Drive-In members Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez -- on its recordings and live shows.

"The members, family, and friends of the Mars Volta were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of band member Jeremy Ward," reads a statement from the band on GSL's official Web site. "Ward was found dead in his Los Angeles home by his roommate on Sunday evening. The cause of death has yet to be determined pending autopsy."

Ward and the rest of the Mars Volta had just returned to Los Angeles for a week of rest between legs of its support tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The group was slated to begin the next leg of the trek Monday (June 2) at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Fla., however those plans may now be in doubt. The band has been touring in advance of its Universal debut, "De-Loused in the Comatorium," due June 24 through Strummer/Universal.

"We have collaborated with Jeremy for the past 10 years," the band said of Ward. "He was the driving force of Defacto, and an integral part of the Mars Volta, who often went unnoticed because he chose to perform offstage. In addition to music, Jeremy was an incredibly talented writer and painter. We are devastated by the loss, but know that Jeremy will continue to be with us in spirit at every show and during the making of every record."

In addition to his work with the Mars Volta, Ward also released one album, "Megaton Shotblast" with Defacto in July 2001 through Gold Standard Labs.