Legendary drum stick manufacturer Vic Firth has passed away today (July 27). He was 85 years old. An announcement was made today on his Facebook page:

To our dear friends around the world:

We are heartbroken to share the news with you that Vic has passed away.

Vic was an inspiration to all of us. He was a visionary, a mentor, a leader and a friend. He always said he surrounded himself with the best people, but the truth is he brought out the best in all of us. His boundless passion for music and musicians drove every decision he made.

Vic’s spirit and legacy will continue to live at the core of the Vic Firth Company. He will be missed beyond words.

If you're not a musician, there's a good chance you don't know who Vic Firth was. But if you listen to any music recorded in the past 50-odd years, there's a nearly 100 percent chance you've heard his product.

Firth started his business back in 1966, producing drum sticks and percussion mallets. Today, the Vic Firth Company is the largest manufacturer of drum sticks in the world. His drum sticks can be heard on more albums than we could possibly know.

He was introduced to music by his father, who played the trumpet. Firth played timpani in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was dissatisfied with the sticks available at the time. He decided to hand-carve his own, which went on to become the first sticks manufactured by his company.

Firth explained the history of his company and his love of music in this interview with KoSA back in 2012:

Rest in peace, Vic.