Polaris guitarist and metalcore guitar hero Ryan Siew dies, aged 26

Polaris guitarist Ryan Siew, who has died aged 26
(Image credit: Polaris / Instagram)

Ryan Siew, guitarist with Australian metalcore band Polaris, has died aged 26. 

The Sydney-based band announced the news with a moving post on social media, describing Siew as a man who “loved music, more diversely than you could ever imagine, and spoke its language in ways that only the rarest among us do.”

The full statement reads as follows:

“It is with shattered hearts & the deepest sorrow that we tell you our dear brother and bandmate Ryan Siew passed away on the morning of Monday June 19. He was 26 years old, and for 10 incredible years he was our best friend and artistic soulmate. Those years will never be enough. 

“He was kindhearted and clever, he was funny and brave and creative, and he was talented beyond all measure. He loved art, and beauty in all its forms. He loved great food in great company. He loved Harry Potter and psych-thrillers and crime documentaries. He loved music, more diversely than you could ever imagine, and spoke its language in ways that only the rarest among us do. And most of all, he loved & adored his family & friends. 

“He was also much admired and beloved by so many. Ryan, we will love and miss you for the rest of our days, and we will never fill the hole that you leave in all of our lives.

“Our hearts are with his family first and foremost, but also with all those whose lives he touched. We ask that you please respect the wishes of Ryan’s family for privacy at this time, and likewise that you give us, our team and family the space to grieve & attempt to heal from this immeasurable loss. We know that you will be grieving with us and that we, and our community, will hold each other through this.

“In loving memory of Ryan Siew. 18.3.1997 - 19.6.2023. May you be at peace.”

Polaris had been preparing to release their third album Fatalism this September and Siew was much respected among metalcore fans and the wider guitar-playing community. 

The band’s first album, 2017’s This Mortal Coil and the follow-up 2020’s The Death Of Me were both nominated for a prestigious ARIA award, while the latter was also tipped for Best Record by Australia’s Rolling Stone.

Our colleague on Australian Guitar, Ellie Robinson, reviewed their March headline show in Melbourne, writing: 

“If any band can take our expectations and shatter them in the most beautiful and brutal of ways, it’s Polaris.... Tonight’s career-spanning celebration reminded us of their inimitable strength as metalcore virtuosos, with their biggest and brightest years still to come.”

No cause of death has been revealed, though back in January of this year, Siew shared a social media update in which he alluded to some “sobering” health scares. 

Musicians and members of bands including August Burns Red, Sylosis, While She Sleeps, We Came As Romans, Architects, Spiritbox and Intervals all paid tribute to Siew on Polaris’s original statement, while a number of players and gear companies shared their own social media tributes to their friend and collaborator (below).

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.