Published Jan 21, 2014Iconic metal imprint Century Media Records confirmed today (January 21) that co-owner Oliver Withöft has passed away. Both the time and cause of death have yet to be revealed, but Withöft was 49.
While details remain murky, Withöft's wife Judith confirmed his passing, writing in an email to friends and family [via Blabbermouth]: "As you all know, [Oliver] was a very special person who touched many people's lives in a positive and special way. This is a huge loss for all who knew him and it will take some time for us to grieve the passing of such a great person. We will all miss him dearly."
Billboard notes that Withöft had taken a leave from his daily duties at the label's office in Dortmund, Germany. The news of his death hit the U.S. office in Los Angeles today (January 21).
"Century Media has been a force in music for over 25 years under Oliver's leadership with his longtime friend and business partner Robert Kampf," former North American label president Don Robertson told Billboard. "It was an honour to work with Oliver for the past four years and develop a friendship."
Others paying tribute to the late label figure include Nuclear Blast Entertainment cofounder Monte Connor, who described Withöft's passing as "a real tragedy," and Nachtmystium leader Blake Judd, who noted his friend died "way too young."
Century Media was founded in Dortmund by Robert Kampf, and Withöft joined the label about a year and a half afterwards. The label launched the careers of heavy artists like Iced Earth, Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall, Nevermore, Suicide Silence and more. Over the years, the label hub has also hosted albums from the likes of Napalm Death, Arch Enemy and Queensrÿche.
Withöft is survived by his wife Judith and their three daughters.