Bruce Corbitt of Rigor Mortis dies at 56

He had been battling cancer since his diagnosis in 2017.

Bruce Corbitt of Texas thrash metallers Rigor Mortis died last Friday after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 56.

Corbitt was diagnosed with terminal, stage-four esophageal cancer in December 2017. Though he continued to forge ahead with band activities, even performing live with Rigor Mortis and his other project Warbeast last year, and participated in a clinical trial, he was moved to hospice care earlier this month, Loudwire reported.

A Billboard profile of Corbitt and Rigor Mortis, published last August, painted a stubborn, resilient portrait of the musician. “I’ve got a 2.8% chance of living five years,” he said. “So what am I going to do, sit around and cry about it or be that 2.8%? There’s got to be a lottery winner for every fucking lottery they do, so why can’t I be one?”

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Rigor Mortis was formed in 1983 by drummer Harden Harrison, bassist Casey Orr and guitarist Mike Scaccia. Corbitt joined three years later after he playing a gig with the band as a guest vocalist. They signed with Capitol in 1987, and released their self-titled album a year later.

Corbitt’s tenure with the band was not without incident: He was stabbed five times at a concert in Fort Worth in 1987, and was fired from the band in 1989 after tensions with Orr. He rejoined Rigor Mortis in 2005 for a reunion concert, which turned into a short run of shows and festival slots. In 2010, Corbitt released Krush the Enemy, his first album with Warbeast, and in 2014, Rigor Mortis released Slaves to the Grave.

Philip Anselmo, former Pantera member and head of Warbeast’s label, Housecore Records, paid tribute to Corbitt in a video message recorded with former Warbeast member José “Blue” Manuel Gonzalez.

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“I have so much I could possibly say about Bruce, and I will eventually. But for right now, all I can say is I send my love to his wife, his daughter, his mother and everybody that was close to him,” Anselmo said. “There’s a lot to sort through and a lot to deal with. But over the next few days, just find it in your heart to think about Bruce and his family and his music and his impact on heavy metal and music in general. And that’s really all I can say right now. We love you.”

RIP, Bruce Corbitt. Stream Rigor Mortis’ 1988 self-titled album below:

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