Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro announced in a statement on Sunday that he and Megadeth have decided to part ways with each other for a longer period of time after the two parties "agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence."

Loureiro already wasn't touring with the group — he had stepped away from the Dave Mustaine-led outfit in September to tend to a family matter, as the guitarist explained at that time.

Megadeth played their first show with Loureiro's fill-in, guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari, on Sept. 6, just one day after the band revealed Mäntysaari would sub in. Now, it appears Mäntysaari could be the new permanent guitarist in Loureiro's absence.

READ MORE: Megadeth Guitarist Kiko Loureiro Pulls Out of Tour, Fill-In Member Announced

Loureiro, formerly of the band Angra, joined Megadeth in 2015, supplanting guitarist Chris Broderick. In the studio, Loureiro contributed to the Megadeth albums Dystopia (2016) and their latest full-length, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (2022).

Besides Mustaine, Megadeth's other current members are drummer Dirk Verbeuren and bassist James LoMenzo. LoMenzo replaced longtime Megadeth bassist David Ellefson for touring in 2022, after the band and Ellefson parted ways.

Below, read Loureiro's message.

Dear Megadeth fans,

I want to share with you a decision that hasn't been easy for me.

In September, I had to step away from the U.S. leg of the tour for family reasons. Looking ahead, during 2024, we anticipate an even heavier touring schedule for Megadeth. After thorough reflection and discussions with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth's management, we have collectively agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence. I don't want to hinder any of the band's plans or the hard work of all the incredible people involved in the tour.

My nine years with Megadeth have been an unbelievable journey, filled with countless 'pinch-me' moments. Unforgettable tours, a Grammy Award for 'Dystopia,' a Grammy nomination, and various accolades for "The Sick, The Dying, and The Dead" are just a few of the highlights. It is hard to put into words the magnitude of these experiences. I am sure any heavy metal fan can appreciate how incredible it is to play and create music in a band you grew up listening to, and to share the stage with a guitar legend like Dave Mustaine, along with phenomenal musicians like James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren, not to mention our incredible crew.

However, the most cherished aspect of these nine years has been getting to know the incredible army of devoted Megadeth fans around the world. Your dedication is inspiring, and I have immense admiration and respect for all of you.

Much love, see you soon!

Kiko Loureiro

Kiko Loureiro Announces Extended Leave from Megadeth - Nov. 19, 2023

Megadeth Albums Ranked

More From Sasquatch 92.1 FM