Jill Janus, the lead singer of the rock bank Huntress, died by suicide on Aug. 14. She was 43.
Janus’ band confirmed the news on their Facebook page on Thursday in which they wrote she “took her own life outside of Portland, Oregon.”
“It is with crushed hearts that we announce that Jill Janus — frontwoman for the California heavy metal band Huntress — passed away on Tuesday, August. 14,” the band wrote. “A long-time sufferer of mental illness, she took her own life outside of Portland, Oregon.”
“Janus spoke publicly about these challenges in hopes of guiding others to address and overcome their mental illness,” the post continued.
The band celebrated Janus’ talent as well as her collaborations with female hard rock cover bands such as The Starbreakers and Chelsea Girls.
Janus also worked as a “co-composer and creator of an upcoming rock opera with Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Angus Clark and had a decade-long career as NYC DJ Penelope Tuesdae.”
“Beyond her accomplishments in the music world and her advocacy for mental health issues, she was a beautiful person passionate about her family, animal rescue and the world of natural medicine,” the band wrote. “She will be missed more than she could have ever known.”
Several of Janus’ friends mourned the singer’s death on social media, including Lizzy Hale of Halestorm.
Hale shared a photo of herself with Janus on Instagram in which she also wrote about the Huntress singer’s “struggles with mental health and addiction.”
“It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of our peers. Jill Janus, has died today. Jill was very open about her struggles with mental health and addiction,” Hale wrote. “Now, more than ever, spanning across Every age group, the suicide rate is extremely high.”
“I’d like to take a moment to state again how important it is to talk about mental health, and remind all of you out there battling demons that you are not alone,” she wrote. “I have to navigate my own dark labyrinth and I turn to music and writing for my lifeline. I want to encourage you to keep searching for Your lifeline, something that makes You happy.”
“It doesn’t matter if no one gets it but you…that’s ok! We need to Stop trying to live up to expectations that society places in front of us to make us feel Unworthy of love, beauty and success,” she continued.
“We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. We need to stop trying to be ‘normal.’ And we need to stop being quiet about our mental wellbeing. Asking for help doesn’t mean your broken,” Hale added. “And if you don’t know how to ask for help that’s ok too, those of us who have a shoulder will let you lean on it!”
She also had a special message to Janus.
“To Jill, My sister of scream, I hope wherever you are you have found the peace that you couldn’t here,” Hale wrote. “My deepest sympathy’s go out to Jill’s Family and her band Huntress during this time.”
Janus’ former Huntress bandmate, Casey Wood, also shared his grief on social media with a touching post on Facebook.
“I’m in shock and can’t stop crying. My ex-band mate singer has left the world. She was the biggest sweetheart and I hope that her Legacy lives on as it should!” He wrote. “You were supposed to be on your way back here Jill Janus. I love you I miss you, and my door is still open for you always. Rest in peace my sister.”
Janus sang for Huntress since the band’s creation in 2009. In an interview with Revolver magazine (and obtained by Loudwire) in July 2015, she opened up about her numerous struggles with mental health, revealing she had Bipolar disorder — a diagnosis she received when she was 20.
“I started to show signs of it when I was 13, though, and I struggled with it through high school,” she said at the time. “It started to get dangerous in my early teens. By the time I was 20 and living in Manhattan, it was very, very difficult for me.”
She continued, “That’s when I was admitted into a mental health facility and was diagnosed bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, which progressed into schizophrenia and dissociative disorder.”
Janus revealed she’d always struggled with suicidal thoughts, describing herself as “very suicidal” in her early years, which turned into “full-blown mania” which resulted in her losing some memories.
“I lost my long-term memory and can’t remember names, faces, or even places,” she said.
Janus was also diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
“When we were on tour with Amon Amarth, I started to bleed heavily between my periods,” she recalled. “I had a procedure, and my doctor found early stages of cancer in my uterus.”
According to Loudwire, Janus had a hysterectomy in June 2015.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.