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Damone Drummer Dustin Hengst Dead at 39

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Dustin Hengst, drummer of the defunct power pop/pop punk band Damone, has died at age 39. Hengst, who also manned the kit for Bleu, passed away on Dec. 9. He had been in a hospital in his home state of Texas for approximately three weeks, as his liver had shut down, become non-functional and took a toll on his body. While his death was a bit sudden, he did suffer through a myriad of health issues throughout his life.

“His liver just shut down and couldn’t function anymore,” bandmate and bassist Michael Vazquez told The Boston Phoenix about Hengst’s health struggles.

Damone, who were based in Waltham, Mass., were active from 2002 through 2008. They released a trio of albums while signed to RCA and then Island before splitting three years ago.

“He’s never really had the best health,” continued Vazquez. “When he was a baby, he had to have a lung taken out, and that obviously complicated things. Most people are born with a certain enzyme to help filter alcohol, and he wasn’t born with that. Even if he was a mild drinker, that wasn’t gonna help. He hit it pretty hard.”

Despite Hengst’s death and the fact that the band has been broken up for three years, Vazquez, along with vocalist Noelle LeBlanc and guitarist Mike Woods, may come out of retirement and “put something together in the new year” or “play a few songs” in memory of Hengst.

A PayPal account has been set up to assist Hengst’s widow. More information is here.

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