Alexi Laiho‘s cause of death has been revealed. According to his former SINERGY bandmate Kimberly Goss, to whom he was still legally married at the time of his passing, the ex-CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman died of “alcohol-induced degeneration of the liver and pancreas connective tissue.” Furthermore, Laiho had a cocktail of painkillers, opioids and insomnia medication in his system.
Alexi passed away on December 29, 2020 in his home in Helsinki, Finland. The 41-year-old had reportedly suffered from long-term health issues leading up to his death.
In January, Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported that Laiho tied the knot with Goss in February 2002, and the couple never officially divorced.
Although Laiho filed for divorce in November 2002, he quickly withdrew the petition and never filed another.
At the time of his death, Alexi was reportedly married to Australian-born music publicist Kelli Wright. However, according to Finnish law, Laiho and Wright would not have been able to wed, as Laiho and Goss had never terminated their marriage.
In December 2017, Wright shared an Instagram photo of what she called her and Alexi‘s “wedding day,” and described it as “full of love and magic”.
In announcing the cause of Alexi‘s death on Instagram, Kimberly wrote: “The loss of this extraordinarily talented and beautiful soul is a tragedy that was entirely preventable. He had so many good years left in him. Imagine all the amazing music we could still be getting if he had just accepted help.
“I plead with anyone who is struggling with alcoholism or any other substance abuse problem, to please seek support. You do not have to meet this same fate. If people are trying to help you, remember that they are doing it out of love and concern, so please do not push them away. Please do not surround yourself with enablers who promote your addictions. Let this be a cautionary tale that no one is invincible.
“I do not want his death to be in vain. My hope is to eventually start a memorial foundation or charity in his native, Finland to help others struggling with these same demons. This needs to be an open conversation, not a source of shame. We are all human, we all suffer, but help is out there. If his story can save even ONE life, then something good can come out of this horrible loss we have all endured.”
In a 2019 interview with Beatroute, Laiho said that the first single from CHILDREN OF BODOM‘s final album, “Hexed”, was written about his dangerous relationship with alcohol.
“‘Under Grass And Clover’ is about severe alcohol withdrawal, which is something I have definitely written about before, but not in recent years,” he said. “I don’t really drink like that anymore, but back in the day it was pretty hardcore. [While writing ‘Hexed’], I sort of went back in time and started remembering what it felt like to go through withdrawal and go through detox. It was just about remembering those horrible times. I don’t even drink on the road anymore. I cut back a ton, so I don’t get those feelings. I don’t want to fuckin’ feel like that ever again. I’d wake up and take a couple shots, not to get drunk, but just to keep an even keel and feel normal. It’s just fuckin’ sad. But in the beginning I didn’t think anything of it — it was normal.”
At the time, Laiho said that he no longer drank on tour and only consumed alcohol socially with friends at home.
“It still takes some willpower,” he said. “I know myself well enough to know I have an addictive personality. It doesn’t necessarily have to be booze — I can get addicted to walking, which I do a lot. Sometimes I work too hard, stuff like that. With beer, I just need to keep an eye on it.
“I think that’s the most important thing: admitting it,” he continued. “If you stay in denial, that’s not going to take you anywhere good in life. Admit it to yourself, know yourself, and keep an eye on yourself. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen people ruin their lives because of alcohol or drugs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fuckin’ saint, and I’m not trying to preach here — people should do whatever the fuck they want. This just worked for me, that’s all. It’s actually pretty fucking great, not feeling so fuckin’ shitty every day.”
When Alexi‘s death was first announced on January 4, Kelli called him “the most loving and magnificent husband and father.”
At the time of Alexi‘s death, Goss was at her current home in Chicago, Illinois, while Wright was in Australia.
Goss moved to Finland in 1999 and stayed in the country for a number of years before moving back to the United States in 2012.
Laiho reportedly spent the last 10 months of his life in Finland.
Alexi and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year, Alexi put together BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT, which recorded three songs and shot one music video, to be released in April.
Besides CHILDREN OF BODOM, Laiho had played in such acts as WARMEN, SINERGY, KYLÄHULLUT and THE LOCAL BAND. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden God and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at the Helsinki Festival in 2015 in “100 Guitars From Hel” — a massive concert piece he composed.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT made its live debut last October at Rytmikorjaamo in Seinäjoki, Finland. The 17-song show consisted entirely of CHILDREN OF BODOM material.