Metallica Pay Tribute to Late Megaforce Records Founder Jon Zazula

Metallica are mourning the loss of Jon "Jonny Z" Zazula and have shared various tributes to the Megaforce Records founder after he died at age 69 on Tuesday (Feb. 1). Other rock and metal musicians joined them in honoring the late music executive.

Zazula helped make Metallica's early career when he signed them to Megaforce and issued the influential metal band's first two albums through the label, Kill 'Em All (1983) and Ride the Lightning (1984).

On Twitter on Tuesday, Metallica said, "Heavy music lost one of its great champions today when Jonny Z left this world far too soon. In 1982, when no one wanted to take a chance on four kids from California playing a crazy brand of metal, Jonny and [his wife] Marsha did, and the rest, as they say, is history."

They continued, "He was a mentor, a manager, a label head and a father figure to us all. Metallica would not be who we are or where we are today without Jon."

The band added, "Our love and sympathy go out to Jonny's children and his grandchildren, whom he cherished and brought to our shows from the time they were in diapers. We hope they will be able to take some comfort in knowing that he is reunited with Marsha, and that he helped bring so much incredible music to so many. Hopefully there’s a great show goin’ on up there tonight to welcome you!"

On Instagram, Metallica singer-guitarist James Hetfield said, "God rest your soul Jonny. My heart is full of gratitude for taking a chance on me and my bandmates." Drummer Lars Ulrich told Zazula, "Thank you for giving us a sense of belonging and ultimately, a sense of self-worth."

See Metallica's tributes below.

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