Hank Von Helvete, the best-known singer of long-running Norwegian death-punk act Turbonegro, has died at age 49. His passing was confirmed by his family via the Norwegian newspaper Tvedestrandsposten and through Turbonegro’s social media pages, but no cause of death was revealed.
Von Helvete (real name Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby) joined Turbonegro as the band’s third lead singer in 1993, taking over for Harald Fossberg. He fronted Turbonegro until his departure in 2009, save for a hiatus that lasted from 1999 to 2002. That break was due in part to Von Helvete’s drug addiction at the time, as he was undergoing treatment for heroin dependency.
During his time with Turbonegro, Von Helvete recorded several albums with the group, beginning with 1994’s Never Is Forever and ending with 2007’s Retox. He also led the band as a dynamic and successful live act, combining punk, glam, and hard-rock sensibilities with theatrical presentation. After their return from the aforementioned hiatus, they scored a number of hit albums in Norway and other parts of Europe, while establishing themselves as a formidable touring act in the States, notably opening for Queens of the Stone Age in 2003.
In announcing Von Helvete’s passing, Turbonegro — who remain an active band with new singer Tony Sylvester — stated the following:
“It is with immense sadness we received the tragic news that Hans-Erik «Hertis» Dyvik Husby has passed away. We are thankful for the times, the moments and the magic we shared with Hans-Erik in Turbonegro during the years 1993-2009. As a charismatic frontman who equally channeled humor and vulnerability, Hans-Erik was crucial for the band’s appeal. He was a warm and big hearted human, a spiritually and intellectually seeking person who loved having a conversation with anyone. We are proud of what we created together as rock brothers in Turbonegro — the music, the characters, our whole universe. Hank Von Helvete remains an iconic figure in the history of Norwegian rock and popular culture, and also made a mark as a profile in the international rock´n´roll community. Actor, romantic and entertainer — through his life Hank left no doubt that he was a man for the stage, loving the spotlight and the room’s attention. Our thoughts and hearts go to his family. Rest In Peace.”
Upon leaving Turbonegro, Von Helvete (who also performed as Hank Von Hell) turned his focus to the supergroup Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult. They released one album, I Declare: Treason, but only lasted a couple of years. As Hank Von Hell, he also released the solo albums Egomania in 2018 and Dead in 2020.
Our condolences go out to Hank Von Helvete’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. Watch him performing with Turbonegro in the live videos below.