On Tuesday night, news came down that Bill Rieflin, drummer and multi-instrumentalist known for decades for his work with R.E.M., Ministry and King Crimson, among other acts, had passed away at the age of 59.
— KING CRIMSON (@DGMHQ) March 25, 2020
Confirming the news on Facebook, King Crimson band leader Robert Fripp posted a photo of a trip to Seattle in 2019 to visit Rieflin and his wife, Tracy:
RF: A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle. Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 18.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you.
Pal Susan Silver has just sent us this pic from our visit last November…
RF: A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle. Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 18.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah…
Over the years, Bill Rieflin earned a reputation among the “Seattle scene” — and elsewhere — for the versatility he brought with him, including stints with the aforementioned groups as well as Nine Inch Nails, Swans, KMFDM, Pigface and others.
— Toyah Willcox (@toyahofficial) March 24, 2020
He assumed main drumming duties for R.E.M. after Bill Berry retired in 1997, contributing to the band from 2003 until 2011, when R.E.M. called it quits.
So sorry to hear of Bill Rieflin passing away. A straight up person and excellent musician.
— Krist Novoselić (@KristNovoselic) March 24, 2020
Ministry shared condolences on social media following the news:
Today we lost a wonderful artist, tremendous human being and an integral part of Ministry’s developments and success…
Safe travels my brother on the way to your next universal gig.
— Ministry (@WeAreMinistry) March 24, 2020
Rest in peace, Bill Rieflin.