Members of metal band Slipknot join bassist’s widow to mourn his death at emotional gathering

By Luke Meredith, AP
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Slipknot members, widow mourn bassist’s death

DES MOINES, Iowa — The eight remaining members of the metal band Slipknot fondly recalled bassist Paul Gray as a man with a big heart who represented everything they loved about their band.

Gray, one of the founding members of the Des Moines-based group known for its grotesque masks, thrashing sound and aggressive, dark lyrics, was found dead Monday in a suburban hotel room.

The band members, making a rare appearance together without their masks, were joined by Gray’s pregnant wife, Brenna, at an emotional news conference Tuesday.

Brenna Gray said their unborn daughter will grow up knowing her father for the legacy he left behind.

“Paul was my husband, an amazing person, and I want people to remember him for just that,” Brenna Gray said. “And his daughter will remember him for the way he was.”

Urbandale police released a statement that said an autopsy was completed Tuesday, but the death remained under investigation. Polk County Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk said it could be four to six weeks before toxicology results are available.

While the autopsy was inconclusive about the cause of death, police said it did confirm there was no evidence of foul play or trauma, and that Gray had been dead for several hours when a hotel worker found his body.

Urbandale police Sgt. Dave Disney said a worker at the TownePlace Suites went to Gray’s room after an unidentified relative called the hotel and asked to have someone check on him. The relative had made several unsuccessful calls to Gray before seeking help from the hotel.

Disney said Gray had wanted some time to himself.

“There’d been a number of issues that led him to want to have, I think, just some alone time,” Disney said. “He went there to be by himself, and he had various reasons.”

Slipknot emerged in the mid-1990s, and its 1999 debut album sold about 2 million copies. The band won a Grammy in 2006 for best metal performance for the song “Before I Forget.”

Slipknot’s last studio album, “All Hope Is Gone,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2008, and concert industry trade publication Pollstar ranked Slipknot 18th in its Top 20 Concert Tours list in 2009.

Members of the band, which has been on a yearlong hiatus, spoke without prepared statements, but they didn’t take questions from the media. None of them addressed the circumstances surrounding his death, preferring to recall him as warm and caring and a loyal member of the group.

“Yesterday we lost our brother, and the world seems a little smaller because of it. He had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known,” lead singer Corey Taylor said. “The only way I can sum up Paul Gray is love.”

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