Steve Lee, singer with Swiss rock band Gotthard, has died in a motorcycle accident outside Las Vegas. He was 47 years old.
Lee, who had a British father and Swiss mother, co-founded the band in 1990 which went on to become one of the most successful Swiss acts ever. Their last 11 albums all charted at number one.
The musician had arrived in the States at the weekend and had begun a biking tour of the country with a group of friends.
The group had pulled off the motorway near the Utah state line to change into wet-weather gear when a tractor-trailer truck driven by a 27-year-old man swerved, sending the trailer careering into a parked Harley-Davidson motorcycle that then hit Lee.
"It was just a freak accident," Nevada Highway Patrol officer Joseph Fackrell said, adding that drugs, speed and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash. No one else was injured.
Lee, who grew up in Ticino and did an apprenticeship as a goldsmith, backed up his song-writing ability – he co-wrote many of the band’s hits – with a voice well suited to power ballads.
"Lee wasn't just one of the best voices in rock, he also had an extraordinary personality," said Jan Bayati of German music management company Bottom Row.
Gotthard’s sound and look was similar to rock bands of the Eighties and Nineties such as Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. They had recently toured with Eighties rockers Whitesnake.
Gotthard’s single Heaven, see link, featured in the television programme “Greatest Swiss Hits”.
Only two months ago Lee and his wife, a former Miss Switzerland, were involved in a car crash in Florence.
swissinfo.ch and agencies