Former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland has died at age 69. The band issued a statement on the passing of Holland, who performed with the legendary British metal group from 1979-1989 and had been reportedly teaching drums in Spain since taking leave of the group.
"It is with regret that we hear of the passing of Dave Holland," the group wrote in a statement issued to Billboard. "Despite his actions since working with the band, his time with us was amongst the most productive and successful in the band's career and for that alone he shall be missed."
Holland was found guilty of attempted rape and indecent assault against a 17-year-old male student with learning disabilities who had been a drum student, and sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2004.
Holland was born in Northampton, England, on Apr. 5, 1948, and played in a series of pop and rock band including Finders Keepers and Trapeze, which also featured future Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes. After leaving Trapeze to play with Priest, Holland appeared on a number of the group's best-selling albums, including 1980's British Steel, 1981's Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, Turbo and 1988's Ram it Down; he was replaced by drummer Scott Travis on 1990's Painkiller; the date of Holland's death and cause were unknown at press time.
"It is with deep regret that I have to accept the sudden and unexpected news that Dave Holland has passed away. Dave was a solid friend in life and solid musician both on the stage and in the studio," wrote former Priest guitarist K.K. Downing on Facebook. "I will cherish the many gigs we played together and the albums that we made and I will always be grateful to the indelible contribution that Dave gave to Judas Priest. My sincere condolences to all of Dave’s loved ones Family and friends and to all of the fans that so much appreciated Dave’s musical ability and his life’s work. R.I.P. Dave."