Heavy metal band Motorhead says former drummer Phil Taylor, an iconic metal thrasher nicknamed "Philthy Animal," has died. He was 61.

"Fast" Eddie Clarke, guitarist with the Grammy-winning rockers, said on Facebook that Taylor died late Wednesday.

He didn't disclose a cause of death, saying Thursday that Taylor "had been ill for some time but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes."

He said Taylor was "one hell of a character."

Taylor drummed on Motorhead's best-known albums, including "Overkill," ''Bomber," ''Ace of Spades" and the live recording "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith."

His distinctive double bass-drum style on tracks like "Overkill" helped define a new genre — thrash metal.

On Motorhead's Facebook page, the band paid tribute to "Lil' Philthy ... he who fuelled many a young boy's punk/metal hairstyles ... he who played the drums with fury and intent."

Ozzy Osbourne called his death a "terrible, terrible loss."

Taylor left the band in 1984, rejoined in 1987 and left again in 1992.