Finnish heavy metal monsters LORDI have released the following statement:
“Our dear friend and bandmate, ‘Otus’ Tonmi Lillman, has sadly passed away. He will be greatly missed and we send our condolences to his family and friends.
“Otus: we thank You from the bottom of our hearts for the short time we got to know you and spend with you together. Rest in peace, friend.”
Members of LORDI always wear masks at interviews and have stated their desire for their personal identities to remain private. Therefore, Lillman‘s status as a member of LORDI had never been publicly acknowledged until now.
Lillman joined LORDI in October 2010 as the replacement for Kita, who was fired from the band after he “made a decision to pursue his own career publicly as himself [under his real name], without his alter ego Kita.” LORDI explained at the time that revealing a member’s true identity was “in direct conflict with one of the cornerstones of LORDI‘s image. Therefore it is not possible for [Kita] to continue as a member of the band anymore.”
In addition to LORDI, Tonmi previously played with TO/DIE/FOR, SINERGY and AJATTARA, and was part of the parody punk band KYLÄHULLUT (featuring CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman Alexi Laiho and KLAMYDIA vocalist Vesku Jokinen).
Tonmi, who was actually born Tommi Lillman but changed his name to Tomni in 2004, grew up surrounded by a large assortment of instruments. He received his first drum kit at age nine and started performing live at age 14.
A gifted musician, Lillman also played guitar, bass and keyboards. Over the course of his career, he taught digital recording and drums at Kouvola Musiikkiopisto (Kouvola Conservatoire) and played in numerous folk, dance and pop orchestras. He also sat behind the kit during the “Dimebag Beyond Forever” 2009 tour alongside Rainer “Raikku” Tuomikanto.
Lillman was featured on several albums as a studio musician, including REFLEXION and TWILIGHT OPHERA, and made a name for himself as a studio engineer, having mixed and recorded such bands as BEHERIT, LIE IN RUINS, MYGRAIN, RYTMIHÄIRIÖ and SAATTUE.