Joey Jordison: who was the Slipknot drummer dead at 46, Corey Taylor tribute – what is transverse myelitis?

Jordison – one of the founding members of the influential metal band – ‘passed away peacefully in his sleep’ his family said

Joey Jordison, one of metal band Slipknot’s founding members, has died aged 46.

In a statement widely reported by US media, his family said Jordison “passed away peacefully in his sleep”, and that his death has “left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow.

“To those that knew Joey, understood his quick wit, his gentle personality, giant heart and his love for all things family and music.”

Here is everything you need to know.

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Who was Joey Jordison?

Jordison grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest of three children, and began playing drums at the age of eight.

Joey Jordison of Slipknot performs on stage at a concert in Sydney, Australia in 2008 (Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

He was already a veteran of the city’s metal scene when he established Slipknot with percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray in 1995, and they went on to global and chart success.

Their self-titled debut album was certified double platinum in the US with more than two million sales, while three of their studio albums have gone platinum in the UK.

Jordison drummed for the influential metal band in its most popular period, and helped write many of its best-known songs.


The group would become known for its rousing, epic live shows, with its nine members wearing masks and sinister costumes; Jordison often wore a white mask with black paint drippings and a crown of thorns when he performed.

Jordison in - and out - of his onstage attire in 2004 and 2010 (Photos: Jo Hale/Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Iowa-born drummer, also known as #1, beat Phil Collins and Dave Grohl to be named the greatest drummer of the past 25 years in 2010.

The boiler-suited player triumphed in the poll staged by leading UK drum magazine Rhythm to find readers’ top choice of drummer and drew nearly two-fifths of the 100,000 votes.

What is transverse myelitis?

Jordison left the band in 2013, later saying it was because he had transverse myelitis, a rare neurological condition that left him unable to play. He went on to play guitar for Murderdolls, and drums for Sinsaenum and Scar the Martyr.


Transverse myelitis is characterised by weakness and numbness of the limbs, deficits in sensation and motor skills and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can lead to episodes of high blood pressure, though symptoms vary according to the affected level of the spinal cord.

The underlying cause of transverse myelitis is unknown, but spinal cord inflammation has been associated with various infections, immune system disorders or damage to nerve fibers.

Complete recovery is unlikely if no improvement occurs within six months of diagnosis; incomplete recovery can still occur with aggressive physical therapy and rehabilitation, though a third of patients can experience no recovery at all

Jordison was the first celebrity to publicly speak about having transverse myelitis, which helped to raise public awareness of the disease.

How have music stars paid tribute?

Following the news of his death, Slipknot – including lead vocalist Corey Taylor – posted black pictures on Twitter and Instagram, while Serj Tankian of System of a Down wrote: “RIP Joey J-an amazing drummer and a fantastic guy.”


Jordison – who played two bass drums simultaneously – had to be strapped in his seat to play live as he performs on a spinning stage which tips to a 90-degree angle

Ginger Wildheart, founder of The Wildhearts, tweeted: “Joey Jordison was better upside down than any other metal drummer sitting normally.”

Anthrax said “a great musician and person has left us”, while Trivium tweeted: “We are saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Joey Jordison.

“From being able to share the stage with him numerous times throughout the years to Matt standing alongside him for the Roadrunner United album. He was always super gracious to all of us in Trivium.”

His family said there will be a private funeral.