Megadeth has parted ways with co-founding bassist Dave Ellefson two weeks after he admitted to taking part in sexually-charged video calls with a woman who was not his wife.
Band leader Dave Mustaine announced Monday that Megadeth was moving on without Ellefson:
"We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him.
"We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward.
"We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete."
Earlier this month, images from video calls between Ellefson and an unidentified woman began circulating on Twitter. Ellefson responded to the scandal on May 10, denying suggestions that the woman in the calls was underage or that he had "groomed" her for sex.
Ellefson said at the time that the conversations were "released with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them."
"As much as it's not something I'm proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family," the bassist wrote.
The woman later came forward, too, explaining that she was "not a victim" and was "always a consenting adult" when interacting with Ellefson. She said she initiated the calls with Ellefson, recorded him and shared those recordings "with a friend without his permission."
"In the end, it was all consensual and all online. I don't know how it got to this point, but a lot of information is being left out by the people purposely trying to harm [Ellefson]."
Megadeth responded later the same day, announcing that the band was "watching developments closely. "As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another. However, there are clearly aspects of David's private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light."
It's unclear if more "truth" came to light before Megadeth the latest schism with Ellefson. The bassist has not commented on the new development with his longtime band.
Ellefson co-founded Megadeth with Mustaine in 1983. Despite a rotating cast other players since the band's inception, Ellefson persisted in the band until it broke up briefly in 2002.
After years of feuding with Mustaine over royalties to the band's classic '80s and '90s material, Ellefson returned to Megadeth in 2010, contributing to three more albums, including the band's 2016 Grammy-winning effort, Dystopia.
Ellefson confirmed last summer that he had completed tracking for Megadeth's forthcoming 15th studio album, The Sick, The Dying ... and The Dead! It's unclear if the band will leave Ellefson's performance on the album in tact or replace it.
Photo: Getty Images