Robert Zildjian Dies; Cymbal Manufacturer Was 89


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Robert Zildjian, the founder of Sabian Cymbals, has died. He was 89.

According to an Associated Press report, Zildjian died at his home in Brunswick, Main on Thursday. Zildjian had reportedly been battling cancer.

Zildjian was born in to a family of Armenian cymbal makers who had passed their cymbal-making secrets down through the generations. In 1979, Zildjian's father died and left the controlling share of the Avedis Zildjian Company to Zildjian's brother, Armand. Robert and Armand did not get along, and after a contentious court battle Robert founded Sabian Cymbals in 1981.

Sabian has released a statement regarding Zildjian's death via its website. The statement, in full:

It is with deep, deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Robert "RZ" Zildjian, our beloved founder and leader. A tireless and dynamic force within the drum industry, he inspired each one of us in the Sabian family to work harder, to reach farther, to make a difference - and he led us by example.

His professional story is well known. Having been dealt a major career setback at an age where most men would have opted for retirement, RZ instead chose to re-invent the cymbal business with his own hand-crafted brand, a brand that would forever change the face and sound of popular music. With his bare hands he shaped the Sabian cymbal brand into his life's story - and by extension we became his family.

We mourn his passing, and he will be forever in our hearts. But we are better people for having known RZ, and we are richer for having worked alongside him. We draw comfort from the knowledge that his spirit will live on in the music made by drummers the world over.

Rest in peace, RZ.

(Image courtesy Sabian)