Former CHILDREN OF BODOM guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho has passed away. The musician died in his home in Helsinki, Finland, last week. The 41-year-old musician had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.
Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year, Alexi put together BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT, who recorded three songs and shot one music video, which will be released later on posthumously.
Besides CHILDREN OF BODOM, Laiho was known for acts such as WARMEN, SINERGY, KYLÄHULLUT and THE LOCAL BAND. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden God and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at the Helsinki Festival in 2015 in “100 Guitars From Hel” — a massive concert piece he composed.
“We are crushed by the sudden passing of our dear friend and band member. Words cannot describe this shock and the profound sadness that we feel”, Daniel Freyberg, Mitja Toivonen and Waltteri Väyrynen from BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT state.
The talented guitarist and musician relished his role as stepdad in his family, and as uncle and godfather. Especially during the last years, the important family ties brought a welcomed balance to his life and the active touring. Laiho was particularly close with his big sister, parents and his sister’s daughter.
Laiho‘s sister says: “We are all absolutely shocked and devastated. We ask for privacy and understanding during these hard times. My little brother’s funeral will take place privately.”
Laiho will also be deeply missed by his family in Australia.
“Alexi was the most loving and magnificent husband and father. Our hearts are eternally broken”, Kelli Wright-Laiho says.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT made its live debut on October 23 at Rytmikorjaamo in Seinäjoki, Finland. The 17-song show consisted entirely of CHILDREN OF BODOM material.
Jaska Raatikainen (drums), Henri “Henkka T. Blacksmith” Seppälä (bass) and Janne Wirman (keyboards) announced their departures from CHILDREN OF BODOM in October 2019. Two months later, they confirmed that they were the rightful owners of the CHILDREN OF BODOM brand.
CHILDREN OF BODOM played its final show on December 15, 2019 at the Black Box in Helsinki Ice Hall. A short time later, Finnish music magazine Soundi reported that the rights to the CHILDREN OF BODOM name are held by AA & Sewira Consulting Oy, the company owned by Raatikainen, Seppälä and Wirman. In June 2019, the trio filed an application with the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland, and their application was subsequently granted for a five-year period starting on October 1, 2019. As a result, Laiho, who was CHILDREN OF BODOM‘s singer, guitarist and main songwriter, wasn’t authorized to use the band’s name without permission from Wirman, Raatikainen and Seppälä.
In November 2019, Laiho admitted to Helsingin Sanomat that there had been tensions in the BODOM camp for quite some time.
“The original decision [to end the band in its current form] came when the other guys said they just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said. “There were family reasons for it. I respect their decision. I myself have a wife and stepdaughter in Australia, and my wife understands my lifestyle. I’m pretty much gone [most of the time], but always I come back and I give them my all. Nothing is more important to me.”
According to Laiho, things came to a head when CHILDREN OF BODOM performed in Russia in October 2019.
“We fought a lot within the band, and I can honestly admit that those fights were mainly my fault,” he said. “They always started with some misunderstanding.”
Relations within the band apparently got so bad during the Russian tour that it looked as if CHILDREN OF BODOM would break up right there and then. But cooler heads prevailed, and the group decided that the shows in Finland would be their last with the most recent formation.
CHILDREN OF BODOM‘s last album, “Hexed”, came out in March 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records.