The drummer died on Sunday (11Sep16) at his home in Hayward, California after a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Despite his often poor health, he continued to play drums and often appeared on stage with his band, HazeXperience. He also joined his former bandmates onstage in 2015 and earlier this year (16) and was scheduled to open for them at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, California in November (16).

Paying tribute to Haze, Y&t frontman Dave Meniketti writes: "It is with shock and sadness that I type this. Leonard Haze, the legendary drummer, and a guy I spent decades with creating great music together, has passed away at 61. This, just a few days after his birthday.

"I just woke up to this news, as I'm in Germany, and immediately called his wife, Kelly. She confirmed that Leonard had passed away in his sleep, a few hours ago, sometime between noon and 7.30pm on Sunday, September 11. Leonard has been struggling with COPD for years, but Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected.

"My deepest condolences to Leonard's family and friends. His impact on the rock scene was well documented. Rest in peace, my friend."

HazeXperience guitarist Jim Bradley adds, "Leonard was not only a bandmate but a close friend, sharing not just a passion for music but also our appreciation for fast cars and cool RC planes. Leonard was taken from us way too soon."

Haze co-founded Y&t in 1972 and played with the band until 1986. In 2001 he rejoined the group. During his stint with the band he co-wrote songs including Hurricane, Black Tiger, and Mean Streak. He also worked on Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan's solo album Toolbox and subsequently joined his band.