Rock group Lordi’s drummer dies at 38

Rock group Lordi’s drummer dies at 38

HELSINKI - Agence France-Presse
Rock group Lordi’s drummer dies at 38

Tonmi Lillman, the drummer of Lordi, has died at the age of 38, the group said. AFP Photo

Tonmi Lillman, the drummer with Finnish monster rock ensemble Lordi, which won the Eurovision song contest six years ago, has died at the age of 38, the group said Wednesday.

 “Our dear friend and band mate, ‘Otus’ Tonmi Lillman, has sadly passed away,” a brief statement on the group’s website said, but gave no details on the cause of his death.

Lillman, whose Finnish nickname “Otus” means “beast” or “creature,” joined Lordi in 2010, four years after the heavy metal band put Finland on Europe’s musical map by sweeping the Eurovision with their stage pyrotechnics, gruesome monster costumes and catchy anthem “Hard Rock Hallelujah”.

Lordi won the 2006 competition with 292 points, a record at the time, giving Finland its first Eurovision win and confirming their popularity across the region in a competition that normally sees states voting for their closest geographical neighbours. Lillman, who officially changed his name from “Tommi” to “Tonmi” in 2004, grew up in Kouvola, in southeastern Finland, and later moved to Helsinki.

He reportedly received his first drum kit at the age of nine and began performing when he was 14.

An accomplished musician who had mastered the keyboards and guitar in addition to drums and bass guitar, Lillman also performed with other Finnish musical outfits such as Ajattara, To/Die/For, Sinergy and Vanguard. Apart from his career with Lordi, Lillman backed numerous other groups and artists as a studio musician, was a talented graphic artist, and taught drumming and digital recording at the Kouvola Musical Conservatory.