PHIL BULLARD, the drummer for heavy rock acts MANDRAKE and BLACK DEATH, has lost his battle with colon cancer at the age of 59. Bullard died on 6 February (08). Formed in Ohio in 1977, Black Death are considered to be the first all-black heavy metal band from the U.S., according to Blabbermouth.net. The group achieved cult status in the early 1980s, but the four-piece had faded into obscurity by the end of the decade. Bullard remained loyal to the Cleveland heavy rock scene and was the drummer for Mandrake at the time of his diagnosis. He quit the group at the end of 2007 due to his illness. Mandrake plan to replace Bullard and tour in his honour. Black Death guitarist Greg Hicks says, "(He was) a great guy who kept us all in line. There never would have been a Black Death without Phil. He had the fire." And former Black Death manager Bob Surgent tells Blabbermouth.net, "I am privileged to have known Phil as a friend and worked with him in Black Death. I know he's playing drums with Hendrix. Tears run red."