The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to TMZ that Howe’s death was determined to be “asphyxia due to hanging,” and authorities are officially calling it a suicide. The sheriff’s department also said that no controlled substances or paraphernalia were found in Howe’s home. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors.
Police received a call on Monday just after 10 a.m. PT regarding an unexpected death. Officers found the singer dead when they arrived at his home in Eureka soon after.
Update: Metal Church released a since-deleted statement on Friday morning (July 30th), writing the following:
“OFFICIAL BAND STATEMENT: If you knew Mike Howe, then you knew he was a truly good human being who loved his friends, his family and his many fans around the world. He would always go the extra mile to make someone feel good and he would always give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. We ask that you remember Mike in that way and for the amazing metal music he created. As to what really happened? He was victimized by a failing healthcare system and subsequently poisoned by the venom of big-pharma. In short and in essence, he fell prey to the real “Fake Healer”…enough said. #truth Godspeed Mike Howe, WE LOVE YOU!!!”
Metal Church then released an amended statement with additional clarification:
“Concerning our recently deleted post addressing the news that Mike’s passing was a suicide, we wanted to dispel any misconceptions that might have arisen from certain media reports. In our efforts to do that, our attempts at honesty created a narrative that fell outside our purest of intentions. We were in no way, shape or form referring to anything in relation to vaccinations, COVID or politics. We were saying our brother was hurting and while he was seeking medical care for it, the treatments he was utilizing did not protect him. Otherwise, he would still be with us today.
If you knew Mike Howe, then you knew he was a truly good human being who loved his friends, his family and his many fans around the world. He would always go the extra mile to make someone feel good and he would always give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. We ask that you remember Mike in that way and for the amazing metal music he created.
This is an extremely difficult time for everyone who knew Mike personally and those that knew him through the music. We are all still processing the loss of our brother. We apologize that the original statement was misunderstood or created an incorrect dialog. We ask that you please stop attacking each other in relation to Mike’s passing and Metal Church. We ask that you take that energy and use it to keep Mike’s memory alive by sharing the music he created while he was with us. We want Metal Church music to bring people together as it has over the years and not be divisive.”
Howe became the second singer for Metal Church in 1988, recording multiple highly regarded albums, including 1989’s power-metal masterpiece Blessing in Disguise. The LP produced the band’s most popular track, “Badlands.”
Howe exited Metal Church upon their initial breakup in the mid ’90s, and was not part of their lineup when they re-formed a couple years later. However, he eventually rejoined the band in 2015 and was an active member of Metal Church up until his passing.
Our thoughts go out to Howe’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. Watch the original music video for “Badlands,” as well as a 2016 performance of the song, below.
Note: If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.