Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro has extended his leave of absence from the band that he originally took in order to deal with "important and private family business", as band leader Dave Mustaine explained.
This week Kiko shared the news that he is extending the leave and Mustaine endorsed the decision and confirmed that Teemu Mantysaari would continue to replace Kiko for the band's live engagements.
Kiko wrote, "Dear Megadeth fans, I want to share with you a decision that hasn't been easy for me. In September, I had to step away from the U.S. leg of the tour for family reasons. Looking ahead, during 2024, we anticipate an even heavier touring schedule for Megadeth. After thorough reflection and discussions with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth's management, we have collectively agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence. I don't want to hinder any of the band's plans or the hard work of all the incredible people involved in the tour.
"My nine years with Megadeth have been an unbelievable journey, filled with countless 'pinch-me' moments," he continued. "Unforgettable tours, a Grammy Award for 'Dystopia', a Grammy nomination, and various accolades for 'The Sick, The Dying, And The Dead' are just a few of the highlights. It is hard to put into words the magnitude of these experiences. I am sure any heavy metal fan can appreciate how incredible it is to play and create music in a band you grew up listening to, and to share the stage with a guitar legend like Dave Mustaine, along with phenomenal musicians like James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren, not to mention our incredible crew.
"However, the most cherished aspect of these nine years has been getting to know the incredible army of devoted Megadeth fans around the world. Your dedication is inspiring, and I have immense admiration and respect for all of you.
"Much love, see you soon!"
Mustaine shared, "Hey Droogies, Last week I received a call from my partner, Kiko Loureiro, and we spoke for a while. I asked him how things were going regarding the important issues that led to his absence from our previous run, which was necessary for him to be with his family.
"I want to update you now on what Kiko shared with me. But before I do, want you to know that I love, respect, and fully support Kiko's decision. He has emphasized his love for me, Megadeth, and all of you, our fans.
"As a reminder, Kiko had to leave the tour last August to handle some very important and private family business. He was conflicted but appreciative when I told him that he needed to go to take care of his family. He agreed but was still concerned about us - meaning the fans, and Megadeth. I told him at the time, 'Go! Kiko, you can never regain this time with your family, I know first hand...l paid the price myself'. Eventually, he agreed.
"Kiko is a top-notch professional, a maestro - and he did not want to hurt me or Megadeth. We came up with a solution to find a fill-in for him during that time and that's when he presented and trained Teemu Maantasary to take over for us. In the beginning, this was only going to be until the first week of October 2023. However, things rarely turn out the way they are planned.
"The 2023 Tour is over, and it was long and arduous. Last year saw a substantial amount of touring, and it appears that 2024 is gearing up to be even more intense, with extensive touring commitments keeping us on the road for most of the year.
"We have had many conversations with Kiko about this and they have all been very positive. Kiko is going to remain on an extended leave of absence, due to our heavy touring commitments next year and we are going to continue to move forward with Teemu Maantysari as the guitar player for Megadeth.
"I would like to thank Kiko for his dedication and hard work these past 9 years, helping us to achieve a Grammy on Dystopia and the additional awards we have received on this latest record 'The Sick... The Dying...and The Dead'.
"I could not have done this without Kiko Loureiro We hope to see all of you supporting Kiko in his next endeavors, and we want to see you next year out on the Killing Road. We have exciting plans to share with all of you in our next newsletter. Dave Mustaine"