Former R.E.M. drummer Bill Rieflin dies aged 59

By Tom Horton, PA

Former R.E.M. and King Crimson drummer Bill Rieflin has died aged 59, according to his family.

The US musician passed away “after an eight-year duel with cancer”, a statement from his relatives said.

Rieflin also played in groups including Swans and Ministry.

The statement said: “Seattle native and life-long resident, Bill was a world-class musician who was at home on the drums, guitar, bass and keyboards.

“He was also an accomplished composer and producer who possessed a sophisticated ear, a depth of rare talent and complete dedication to his craft.”

It added: “His refined manner, brilliant mind, eye for the ironic and legendary sense of humour defined him as a man of discerning taste, palate and company.”

His death was also announced on Twitter by R.E.M.

A post from the band’s account said: “It is with heavy hearts we acknowledge the death of our dear friend and consummate drummer, Bill.”