Drummer Craig Gill, a founding member of alt-rock veterans Inspiral Carpets, has passed away at the age of 44.

News of Gill's passing comes courtesy of a statement from the band, which was posted via the Carpets' official social media channels on Nov. 22. "It's with heavy hearts that we announce the death of our drummer and close friend, Craig Gill," begins the statement. "We are all absolutely devastated by the news. Craig was our brother."

Describing his surviving bandmates as honored to have played with him over the more than three decades since the Carpets' founding, the post adds, "To say we'll miss him is an understatement. He was the beating heart of the Inspirals in more ways than one."

After an extended hiatus following their split in 1995, the band reunited in 2003; the reunion eventually produced the band's fifth studio LP, a self-titled effort released in 2014. A beloved figure in the Manchester musical community that spawned the "Madchester" scene with which the Inspiral Carpets were closely identified, Gill was known as an avid cultural historian — primarily through his Manchester Music Tours company, which took customers on guided trips through the city's rich rock 'n' roll legacy.

Gill's sudden passing has already prompted an outpouring of social media tributes from his peers, friends, and musical disciples. Calling him a "top, top man," Mute's Twitter feed posted a farewell saying "we will miss you," while former New Order bassist Peter Hook described him as one of the "happiest smiliest people I'd ever met in this business."

Oasis co-founder Liam Gallagher, whose brother Noel served as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets during the brothers' younger years, tweeted that he was "stunned by the news" and added, "my heart goes out to his family and band members LIVE FOREVER."

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