Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine issues update on Kiko Loureiro’s “extended leave of absence”

“We are going to continue to move forward with Teemu Mäntysaari as the guitar player for Megadeth.”

Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro of Megadeth

Image: Joseph Okpako / Getty Images

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Earlier this week, Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro announced that he’ll be extending his break from the band into 2024.

The news has been confirmed by Dave Mustaine in a fresh update, which states that the guitarist will “remain on an extended leave of absence” and that Megadeth will “continue to move forward” with Wintersun’s Teemu Mäntysaari taking Loureiro’s place.

In Loureiro’s initial announcement, the guitarist says he will remain on break because “I don’t want to hinder any of the band’s plans or the hard work of all the incredible people involved in the tour.” He also thanked fans for their support, calling the last nine years in the band an “unbelievable journey, filled with countless ‘pinch-me’ moments”.

Meanwhile, Mustaine’s statement reads: “Kiko had to leave the tour last August to handle some very important and private family business. He was conflicted but appreciative when I told him that he needed to go to take care of his family. He agreed but was still concerned about us – meaning the fans, and Megadeth.”

“Kiko is a top-notch professional, a maestro – and he did not want to hurt me or Megadeth. We came up with a solution to find a fill-in for him during that time and that’s when he presented and trained Teemu Mäntysaari to take over for us. In the beginning, this was only going to be until the first week of October 2023. However, things rarely turn out the way they are planned.”

“The 2023 tour is over, and it was long and arduous. Last year saw a substantial amount of touring, and it appears that 2024 is gearing up to be even more intense, with extensive touring commitments keeping us on the road for most of the year.”

“We have had many conversations with Kiko about this and they have all been very positive. Kiko is going to remain on an extended leave of absence, due to our heavy touring commitments next year and we are going to continue to move forward with Teemu Mäntysaari as the guitar player for Megadeth.”

Mustaine also thanked Loureiro for “his dedication and hard work these past 9 years, helping us to achieve a Grammy on Dystopia and the additional awards we have received on this latest record The Sick… The Dying…and The Dead.

While the band did not explicitly mention that Loureiro is leaving Megadeth permanently, fans have picked up on the tone of finality in both statements. At the very least, it doesn’t seem like Loureiro is returning anytime soon and we should expect Mäntysaari’s stint as Magadeth’s guitarist to remain for the foreseeable future.


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