Kiko Loureiro is extending his absence from Megadeth and will remain away from the band during its “heavier touring schedule” in 2024.
The Brazilian guitarist initially sat out the fall leg of Megadeth’s 2023 tour due to “family reasons.” Finnish axeman Teemu Mäntysaari filled in as a replacement and will retain that role for the upcoming tour dates.
Loureiro issued a statement on Instagram regarding his continued absence:
“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,” he continued. “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!”
Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine discussed Kiko’s absence in an interview with Ultimate Guitar last month. Mustaine said that he didn’t know exactly what the guitarist was dealing with in his personal life or a timeline for his return.
“I love [Kiko] and I want him to get whatever he’s going through worked out,” Mustaine said. “And fortunately, he had mentioned the name of a guy, Teemu Mäntysaari. Teemu came out, and he was prepared.”
He added: “I don’t know when Kiko is coming back. He won’t be back for this run [of tour dates]. He’s at home, and he’s soldiering on — for lack of a better term — and working through whatever it is he needs to get through. Out of respect for him, I didn’t pry and ask what exactly it was — because it’s really none of my business unless he tells me.”
In the meantime, Mustaine has praised Mäntysaari as Kiko’s replacement, telling Ultimate Guitar that “Teemu is very capable” and that the band was even “adding new songs to the set.”
As of now, Megadeth have a Latin American tour scheduled for the spring (tickets available here), as well as an appearance at France’s Hellfest in June. As Loureiro mentioned, the band will be touring extensively in 2024, so expect more dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
You can read Loureiro’s statement on social media below.