Former Obituary, Death, Sebastian Bach Guitarist Ralph Santolla Dead at 48

(Image credit: Christie Goodwin/Getty Images)

Ralph Santolla—the metal guitarist who played with Deicide, Obituary, Iced Earth, Sebastian Bach and Death, among others—died yesterday, June 6, at age 48. Santolla had fallen into a coma after suffering a major heart attack, and was taken off life support yesterday.

His mother, Sue Santolla-Rocha, confirmed his passing in a Facebook post. "My heart is broken, but I know he loved me unconditionally and will always be with me," she wrote. "It is the same with all of us, he will be with you everyone, everyday and his love will surround us now and forever."

Santolla played with Deicide from 2005-2011, in addition to his stints with Obituary, Millenium and Sebastian Bach. Santolla also toured with Death, Iced Earth, Melechesh, and Vital Remains over the course of his two-decade-plus career.

A number of Santolla's many friends and peers in metal took to social media pay tribute to the guitarist.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.