Bill Rieflin’s family have paid tribute to the “extraordinary drummer” following his passing at the age of 59.

The musician - who was best known as the drummer for bands including King Crimson, R.E.M., and Ministry - died on Tuesday (24.03.20) following an eight-year battle with cancer, and on Wednesday (25.03.20) his family broke their silence on the tragic news.

In a statement, Bill’s family shared: “Musician Bill Rieflin passed away after an eight-year duel with cancer.

“Seattle native and life-long resident, Bill was a world-class musician who was at home on the drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards. He was also an accomplished composer and producer who possessed a sophisticated ear, a depth of rare talent and complete dedication to his craft.

“Known for much of his career as an extraordinary drummer, Bill performed with a wide range of artists and bands from Swans and Ministry to R.E.M. and King Crimson and many more.

“Bill also lost his beloved wife of 27 years, master painter Francesca Sundsten, to cancer last year.

“His refined manner, brilliant mind, eye for the ironic and legendary sense of humour defined him as a man of discerning taste, palate, and company.

“We will miss him terribly.

“Rest easy, Bill. (sic)”

Bill’s passing was first revealed by King Crimson’s frontman Robert Fripp, who took to Facebook and said himself and his wife Toyah Willcox - who Bill worked with on her project The Humans - received a phone call to let them know Bill had sadly lost his fight with cancer.

In a touching tribute, the 73-year-old musician said his life was made "immeasurably richer" for knowing Bill.

He wrote: "RF: A call from Tracy Rieflin in Seattle. Bill Rieflin flew from this world c. 18.50 Pacific, 18.50 UK. Tracy told Toyah and me that the day was grey, and as Bill flew away the clouds opened, and the skies were blue for about fifteen minutes. Fly well, Brother Bill! My life is immeasurably richer for knowing you. (sic)”

As well as King Crimson, Bill had most recently played with R.E.M and Ministry, whilst in the 90s he worked for the late Chris Cornell, Nine Inch Nails, and many more.

In 2012, the versatile musician played drums on Robbie Williams' LP 'Take The Crown'.