Former Deicide & Sebastian Bach Guitarist Ralph Santolla Dies at 48

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Ralph Santolla photographed in London on Sept. 3, 2009.

Metal guitarist Ralph Santolla has died at the age of 48. Santolla, who previously performed with Deicide, Sebastian Bach, and Obituary, passed away on Wednesday (June 6) after he fell into a coma following hospitalization for a heart attack on May 30. His family announced that he would be taken off life support earlier this week.

Santolla’s mother, Sue Santolla-Rocha, confirmed his death in a Facebook post. "Just so we all start to heal, Ralph Santolla is not laying on that bed at St Joseph Hospital. He has gone, and he is happy and at peace in heaven," she said. "My heart is broken..but I know he loved me unconditionally and will always be with me."

The guitarist, who is survived by his son Dorian Angelo Santolla, has been memorialized by his musical peers including Sebastian Bach and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G. See the tributes below.


American guitarist Ralph Santolla has passed away. I have a lot of fond memories of Ralph, I actually shared a tour bus with Ralph on his first ever European tour when he was playing for Death in 1993 (I was playing in Carcass). We became fast friends as we were both fans of guitarists Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth. We almost started a band together at one point. It never materialised, but we sure had a great time talking about it! Ralph faced a lot of challenges over the years in his personal life but always kept on playing great guitar and wrote some remarkable music. Even though he made a name for himself in the Death Metal world, playing for bands like Death, Obituary and Deicide, I believe his heart was always more into the melodic side of things. One of my favourite songs he composed and played on is “No More Miracles” off the “Hourglass” album with his Millennium band. I’ll be listening to that one a few times tonight while remembering the good times. Cheers Ralph! Rest In Peace. #ralphsantolla #rip #ripralphsantolla

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