Black Tusk Bassist Dies in Motorcycle Crash

Black Tusk
Courtesy of Black Tusk

Jonathan Athon was 32.

The bass player for the heavy metal band Black Tusk has died after being critically injured in a weekend motorcycle crash near his Georgia home.

The death of Jonathan Athon, 32, of Savannah was confirmed Monday (Nov. 10) by the band's record label, Relapse Records. Black Tusk recently finished recording a follow-up to the band's 2011 album Set the Dial and the 2013 EP Tend No Wounds, said Bob Lugowe, the label's marketing director.

Athon suffered critical injuries Friday night when his Harley-Davidson motorcycle crashed into the side of an SUV in Savannah's downtown historic district, according to Savannah-Chatham County police. Athon died Sunday at a local hospital after being taken off life support, Black Tusk said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

"Doctors told us that he suffered irreparable brain damage shortly after the accident," said the online statement, which Lugowe confirmed came from the band. "He has been in a coma and sustained by life support until now. As per his wishes, we removed Athon from his life support systems and his organs will be donated."

Police said a passenger, identified by the band as Athon's girlfriend, was also hospitalized with injuries from the crash. Emily Boutwell, 26, was in fair condition Monday at Memorial Health University Medical Center, said hospital spokesman Michael Notrica.

A heavy metal trio, Black Tusk formed in Savannah in 2005 and honed a raw, no-frills style sometimes referred to as "swamp metal." In less than a decade, the band released four albums and several EPs on independent labels.


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