Clive Burr

Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr has died after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis, the band announced on their official website Wednesday.

Burr "died peacefully in his sleep at home," according to the announcement. "This is terribly sad news. Clive was a very old friend of all of us," band founder and bass player Steve Harris said in a statement. "He was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out. This is a sad day for everyone in the band and those around him, and our thoughts and condolences are with his partner Mimi and family at this time."

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Added lead singer Bruce Dickinson: "I first met Clive when he was leaving Samson and joining Iron Maiden. He was a great guy and a man who really lived his life to the full. Even during the darkest days of his M.S., Clive never lost his sense of humor or irreverence. This is a terribly sad day and all our thoughts are with Mimi and the family."

Born in in 1957 in London, Burr played  with Dickinson in the British metal band Samson from 1977 to 1979. Following Dickinson's move, Burr joined Iron Maiden in 1979 and contributed to the rock group's first three albums: their 1980 self-titled debut, 1981's Killers and The Number of the Beast in 1982. He left the band in 1982 just before the band enjoyed major success.

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After leaving Iron Maiden, Burr played with the French group Trust, and the American band Alcatrazz, both for brief periods of time. He also lead a group first known as Clive Burr's Escape — which was later called Stratus — before he joined Dee Snider's post-Twisted Sister band Desperado.

In the 1990s, he also played with British bands Elixir and Praying Mantis.

When Burr was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, his former bandmates formed the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund to help raise money for his living costs and performed a number of concerts in his honor when he struggled to keep up the payments on his house.