Leonard Haze, the original drummer for the band Y&T, died on Sunday evening at his home in Hayward, CA after a lengthy battle with COPD. He was 61.

Y&T released their first, self-titled, album in 1976 and followed with Struck Down in 1978 and Earthshaker in 1981 but success eluded them until their fourth set, 1982’s Black Tiger which charted in the U.K.

The band finally hit it big in their native U.S. with their next three albums, Mean Streak (1983 / #103), In Rock We Trust (1984 / #46) and Down For the Count (1985 / #91). The latter included their biggest hit, Summertime Girls,

Y&T member Dave Meniketti wrote:

It is with shock and sadness that I type this. Leonard Haze, the legendary drummer, and a guy I spent decades with creating great music together, has passed away at 61. This, just a few days after his birthday. I just woke up to this news, as I’m in Germany, and immediately called his wife, Kelly. She confirmed that Leonard had passed away in his sleep, a few hours ago, sometime between noon and 7:30pm on Sunday, September 11.

Leonard has been struggling with COPD for years, but Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected.

My deepest condolences to Leonard’s family and friends. His impact on the rock scene was well documented.

Rest in peace, my friend.

-Dave Meniketti