Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula, who co-founded Megaforce Records alongside his wife Marsha, has died at the age of 69. He passed away yesterday, 1 February 2022, in Florida, surrounded by his family.
Jonny Z died, the family said, of complications of the rare neuropathic disorder chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteopenia.
Daughter Rikki wrote in a statement posted on social media:
“The world lost a true legend today… Our Dad lived a life as fast, hard, heavy, powerful, and impactful as the music he brought to the world. His passion and persistence fueled the careers of arguably the most influential Metal bands and industry greats of a generation.
“To us, he was simply daddy… Our father and mother were a powerhouse partnership in love, life, and business. Together they believed in the unbelievable. Their passion, rebel perspective, and persistence built an empire from a box of vinyl in a flea market into a multi-platinum selling record label, management company, and publishing house.
“Although we are devastated he is gone, they are finally reunited. And it feels impossible to imagine a world without him in it. For all of us who knew and loved him … by the way… keep it heavy! RIP, daddy, you will truly be deeply missed but never forgotten…your LegaZ will live on forever, not only in us and your grandchildren but in every headbanger on this planet for all of eternity.”
Metalforce Records was founded in 1982 by Jon Zazula and his wife Marsha Zazula to publish the first works of Metallica.
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 Marsha did, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“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 Zazula and his wife, Marsha.
“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! We’ll miss you Jonny! James, Lars, Kirk & Robert.”
Marsha Zazula died of cancer on 10 January 2021, at the age of 68.
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 Marsha did, and the rest, as they say, is history.
— Metallica (@Metallica) February 2, 2022