Mike Cross, founding guitarist for American rock act Sponge, has died at the age of 57. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

Sponge confirmed Cross’s passing writing:

“It is with heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Mike Cross. One of the musical architects and founding member of Sponge. His influence and talent will be missed.”

As a co-writer for Sponge’s platinum-selling album Rotting Piñata, sophomore album WaxEcstatic and third release New Pop Sunday, Mike helped catapult the band into rock star status with his catchy hooks, iconic crunchy guitar and an undeniable original sound. The band toured extensively, headlining shows in the U.S. and in Europe supporting A-list artists such as Alice in Chains, KISS and Soundgarden. Mike also appeared on the late-night talk show circuit, including “The Late Show With David Letterman”, “The Conan O’Brien Show” and the “Jon Stewart Show”. After his departure from Sponge due to creative and business differences, he turned away from music business to focus on his personal life. However, he continued to write, record and produce various music projects and develop his own vocal abilities. More recently, Cross was the lead vocalist and guitarist for his band MC Roads, which released an EP, No Nostalgia, last September via Golden Robot Records.

Golden Robot Records paid tribute to Cross, writing on social media:

“We are devastated to hear of the passing of our rock n roll brother and GRR family member – Mike Cross. What a gracious, wonderful human who had the voice of a husky angel and played guitar like the best of them, all of our global team wish music love to his brother Tim, band mates, friends and family. A sad day for rock n roll but a great day for that ever expanding rock band in heaven.. Who we are sure Mike is part of now. We will miss you Mike.”

A message at the MC Roads Facebook page read:

“It is with overwhelming sadness and shock that we inform you that Mike Cross passed away Sunday March 6th. Mike was a founding member and lead guitarist of Loudhouse and Sponge which produced the gold (and then some) record Rotting Piñata. In recent years Mike formed MC Roads and released the EP No Nostalgia. Taking the new music on the road was going to be the next step. Gone way too soon. We love you so much Mike.”