By Alex HudsonThe name Sabian is likely familiar to anyone with even a mild interest in drums, since the Canadian company's name has appeared on countless cymbals. Today (March 28), the company's founder, Robert "RZ" Zildjian, passed away at the age of 89. Reports suggest that he was battling cancer.
Robert was a member of the well-known Zildjian family, who operate the long-running cymbal company Zildjian. After a conflict with his brother Armand, Robert split from the family business and started Sabian in 1981 in Meductic, NB.
Sabian was named after Robert's children — Sally, Bill and Andy — and it went on to become hugely successful. Today, it is one of the best-known cymbal brands in the world, with artists such as Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Peart of Rush using Sabian cymbals.
It is with deep, deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Robert "RZ" Zildjian, our beloved founder and leader. A tireless and dynamic force within the drum industry, he inspired each one of us in the Sabian family to work harder, to reach farther, to make a difference — and he led us by example.
His professional story is well known. Having been dealt a major career setback at an age where most men would have opted for retirement, RZ instead chose to re-invent the cymbal business with his own hand-crafted brand, a brand that would forever change the face and sound of popular music. With his bare hands he shaped the Sabian cymbal brand into his life's story — and by extension we became his family.
We mourn his passing, and he will be forever in our hearts. But we are better people for having known RZ, and we are richer for having worked alongside him. We draw comfort from the knowledge that his spirit will live on in the music made by drummers the world over.