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|Birth name||Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho|
|Also known as||Wildchild|
|Born||8 April 1979|
|Died||29 December 2020 (aged 41)|
Alexi Laiho (born Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho; 8 April 1979 – 29 December 2020) was a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He was best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and was also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band, Kylähullut, and Bodom After Midnight, which formed just prior to his death. Laiho had previously played with Thy Serpent and Impaled Nazarene on occasion, as well as Warmen and Hypocrisy.
In 2004, Laiho founded a side-project called Kylähullut, which was assembled together with Tonmi Lillman (ex-Sinergy) and Vesa Jokinen 69er (from Klamydia). The band was created merely for the entertainment of the musicians, and takes a carefree approach to their music. The band's discography includes two EP's, and two full-length albums.
Laiho appears on Canadian thrash metal outfit Annihilator's 2007 album, Metal, as a guest, performing a guitar solo on the song "Downright Dominate".
On 15 December 2019, Children of Bodom played their last show at the Icehall in Helsinki, dubbed "A Chapter Called Children of Bodom"; in November it was announced that after this show, all members of the band except Laiho and guitarist Daniel Freyberg had quit. Due to legal reasons, Laiho would need permission from his former band mates to continue using the Children of Bodom name.
Laiho died on 29 December 2020 after long-term health complications, leaving behind a few songs recorded with Bodom After Midnight to be published posthumously. Several months later, Daniel Freyberg told Loudwire that Bodom After Midnight would disband rather than replacing Laiho.
Awards and recognition
Laiho received a Metal Hammer Golden Gods prize in the category of Dimebag Darrell Shredder Award in 2008.
Laiho received widespread acclaim for his guitar work and according to AllMusic, he is "widely celebrated as one of the genre's most accomplished players". In 2004 he was ranked No. 96 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World. Guitar World magazine has also ranked him as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world. In addition, Roadrunner Records ranked Laiho at No. 41 out of 50 of The Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time. Furthermore, Total Guitar conducted a public voting poll to determine the greatest metal guitarist of all time; Laiho was voted No. 1 out of 20 metal guitarists, with over 20% of the vote.
Personal life and death
In February 2002, Laiho married Kimberly Goss during a private ceremony in Finland, after dating for four years. In 2004 they separated, but still remained close friends according to Goss. For several years after he was then with Kristen Mulderig, manager of Slayer until mid 2015. Later that same year he began a relationship with Kelli Wright, an Australian Public Relations Manager who he became engaged to September 2016 and the two married December 2017. After Laiho's death it was revealed that Laiho never legally divorced from Goss, therefore his marriage to Wright was not legal.
Laiho had a long history of alcohol abuse, which ultimately was the cause of his death. In an interview in 2019 he talked about how the pressures of life on the road affected him; he mentioned the song "This Road" from 2019's Hexed and said, "A lot of people thought it was about alcoholism, but it's more about being addicted to being on the road. Sometimes it feels like after 20 years of being on the road, everything just becomes kind of a blur and you don't know what the hell's going on." He explained how he used to drink heavily but cut back in 2013, not drinking while on tour anymore, and mentioned that Hexed's first single, "Under Grass and Clover", documented the pain of withdrawal.
On 4 January 2021, a post on his official Facebook page stated Laiho had died the previous week. No official cause of death was given, only stating he succumbed at his Helsinki home to "long-term health issues during his last years". The death date was later confirmed to be 29 December 2020. A private funeral service for Laiho was held on 28 January 2021.
On 5 March 2021, Kimberly Goss revealed the official cause of Laiho's death on her Instagram: "alcohol-induced degeneration of the liver and pancreas connective tissue". Also, a mix of painkillers, opioids and insomnia medication was found in his system. The cause of death was originally published in Finnish as "maksan rasvarappeutuminen ja haiman sidekudostuminen", and a more accurate English translation would be fatty liver disease and pancreatic fibrosis.
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