Former DEATH, DEICIDE and OBITUARY guitarist Ralph Santolla is in a coma at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida after suffering a heart attack Tuesday night.
Ralph‘s mother, Sue Santolla-Rocha, revealed his condition in a Facebook post earlier today. She wrote: “Friends and family, it is out there now, so let me tell you what I know.
“Ralph thought he had a spider bite on Saturday. Went to the hospital. It was not a spider bite; it was a blood clot. Tuesday night he fell and he had a heart attack. John Rocha gave him CPR until EMT arrived. His heart had stopped but they got him back.
“His visuals are stable but he is in a coma. He is on a ventilator, but he is breathing around it. He could breathe on his own, but they do not want to add additional strain to his body. He is in a coma. That is the main concern at this moment. They can fix everything else.
“We are having as many of his friends as he can come and talk to him and play music. There has been a minimal movement, but some. It is ICU, but he is in a private room and they are letting anyone in and they can stay as long as they want. So please pray as he has people all over the world praying and if you can come and spend time with him.
“Please… he needs to get back from the place that he is in. I love you all… Let’s just work on getting him out of the coma if we can.”
Although Santolla never recorded with DEATH, he toured with the legendary death metal act in 1993 and appeared in the group’s “The Philosopher” video.
Santolla, who is believed to be 51 years old, played on and off with DEICIDE between 2005 and 2011 and appeared on three of the band’s albums: “The Stench Of Redemption” (2006), “Till Death Do Us Part” (2008) and “To Hell With God” (2011).
Ralph joined OBITUARY in 2007 as the replacement for Allen West. He recorded with the band on the “Xecutioner’s Return” (2007) and “Darkest Day” (2009) albums as well as the “Left To Die” EP (2008).
Friend and family..it is out there now so let me tell you what I know. Ralph thought he had a spider bite on Saturday….