Ralph Santolla: 1969-2018

Ralph Santolla, former guitarist for a host of metal bands including Deicide, Obituary, Death, Sebastian Bach and Toxik, passed away today, June 6, due to complications following a heart attack, his family confirmed. He had been in a coma since last week.

“Good morning,” his mother, Sue Santolla-Rocha, posted on Facebook earlier this morning. “Just so we all start to heal, Ralph Santolla is not laying on that bed at St Joseph Hospital. He has gone, and he is happy and at peace in heaven. I want to start your day with a little humor. My wonderful mother and Ralph grandmother passed away three years ago. One of my friends was trying to console me, Fred Parker, and had the comment that Ralph would be playing music for his Nannie..it just made me laugh to visualize Ralph playing heavy metal for his Nannie. OMG….it would be so funny… His Nannie was an amazingly strong woman and she would tell him, cut it down, and play something decent. I ❤ my son more than anyone can imagine, my heart is broken..but I know he loved me unconditionally and will always be with me. It is the same with all of us, he will be with you everyone, everyday and his love will surround us now and forever.i wanted to tell everyone that I have thousands of messages…I just can’t deal with it right now but I love each of you.”

His mother noted in an earlier post that he will live on not only in his music, but because he is an organ donor. “Those recipients don’t know what they are getting until they suddenly become sarcastic, funny, get tattoos & start playing guitar!” she posted.

Santolla also contributed a guest column to the Decibel site in 2012, offering advice on taking your metal band to the next level. You can read it here.

Decibel extends our deepest sympathies to Santolla’s friends and family.