We’re saddened to share some gut-wrenching news from the camp of L.A. metalcore outfit Of Mice & Men — vocalist Austin Carlile is quitting the band due to life-threatening complications from a lifelong battle with Marfan syndrome.
“My team advised me that if I continued to (perform and scream), it would cause ‘permanent and irrevocable damage to my spinal cord and nervous system,’” the 29-year old frontman wrote in an open letter published Dec. 30. “I’m so thankful my spinal injuries weren’t worse for I could have easily been paralyzed permanently.”
Marfan syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that afflicts the connective tissue holding the body’s cells, organs and tissue together; in Carlile’s case, it especially affected the tissue binding his spinal cord, compounded by screaming and performing onstage with the band. He wrote, “I had three tears in my dual sac surrounding my spinal cord and we discovered that every time I would push down to scream, spinal fluid would rush through the tears which was causing me the violent pain every time I’d perform. It was causing my muscles to seize up and my body to contort onstage.”
Carlile’s announcement comes three months after Of Mice & Men canceled a series of European tour dates originally planned to close out 2016. He’d endured through the band’s entire eight-year history, but after multiple surgeries and mounting hardship (by 2016 he was unable to perform many of the screams on the band’s earlier songs) he was finally forced to bow out.
In sharing Carlile’s letter, Of Mice & Men announced it will continue on as a four-piece (featuring remaining members Phil Manansala, Valentino Arteaga, Alan Ashby and Aaron Pauley) and honor its forthcoming live dates, a series of European festivals in June and July.
Of Mice & Men’s most recent album was Sept. 2016’s Cold World, their fourth overall, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and marked their third top 10 on the tally.
In signing off, Carlile found strength in his faith and his loved ones — friends, family and bandmates: “They have all personally seen how much pain I have had to endure and especially the past two years as my spine was tearing apart but I just kept going. I gave it my all, and cannot express this enough.” He noted he’s still able to sing and that even though his time in Of Mice & Men is over, he “will not stop playing music.”
Here’s to rest, recovery and hope towards hearing more down the line. Find Carlile’s full statement below, as shared by Of Mice & Men: