Original RIOT guitarist Lou "L.A." Kouvaris has passed away at 66 years old.
No cause of death has been revealed, but RIOT's manager Giles Lavery said Lou developed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, over a week ago.
Kouvaris's passing was confirmed by RIOT, who wrote on social media: "Lou (LA) Kouvaris (RIP).RIOT has lost another brother. Lou played on the very 1st RIOT record 'Rock City' and performed with the current lineup many times as we are Family. We are saddened by his passing and continue in his and the RIOT family honor! Rest in Power Lou! Now start working on music with Guy Mark and Rhett! Shine on Warrior!"
Born in Piraeus, Greece,Kouvaris— along with singerGuy Speranzaand guitaristMark Reale— penned several ofRIOT's anthem-style songs on both the band's debut album, 1977's"Rock City"and 1979's"Narita", which took Japan and Europe by storm.
Last year, Kouvaris joined forces with another ex-RIOT guitarist, Rick Ventura, to form RIOT ACT. RIOT ACT's setlist focused on the first three albums: "Rock City", "Narita" and "Fire Down Under" (1981).
Kouvaris is not the first member of the original RIOT to pass away. Eight years ago, RIOT's founding guitarist Mark Reale died due to complications of Crohn's disease — an ailment he had battled for most of his life. RIOT's original singer Guy Speranza died on November 8, 2003 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Often regarded as the best RIOT vocalist, he sang on the group's first three full-length albums before being replaced by Rhett Forrester. Forrester himself left in the mid-'80s to pursue a solo career, only to be murdered on January 22, 1994 in Atlanta.