The heavy rocker wants to focus more of his time on his autistic son.

Announcing the news in a statement obtained by WENN on Monday (22Aug16), Troy says, "After close to ten years as a guitarist in Iced Earth, the time has come for me to step away.

"I have a child with Autism. In the past I had a great support system that has allowed me to pursue a career in music. That is no longer the case and it has forced me to make a difficult decision. I've always believed that family comes first, and now it is time for me to focus on that.

"The demanding lifestyle of being in a professional heavy metal band is no longer an option for me. Knowing the band is focused on a new album and touring cycle, and given my circumstances, this is the best time for me to step down."

Steele has called his decade in Iced Earth "a great experience", adding, "It's taken me around the world many times and given me the chance to meet many of my heroes, as well as play in front of crowds larger than I ever dreamed of."

Singer Stu Block adds, "It's very sad that Troy is leaving. He will be missed and will always be considered family to us. I wish him the best of luck in everything he does."

His last gig with the band will be at the Knotfest festival in Mexico City on 16 October (16).

Iced Earth will be holding auditions for his replacement and have invited fans to send in tapes of themselves performing.