Pink Martini shares statement on Derek Rieth's suicide

PORTLAND – Portland band Pink Martini released a statement Monday, about the death of their percussionist, Derek Rieth.

Rieth died Wednesday, due to suicide.

The statement read:

"With deepest sorrow we announce the passing of Derek Rieth, whose long struggle with bipolar disorder ended when he took his own life on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. Derek was a beloved son, brother, friend and colleague whose beautiful heart and passion for music touched thousands of lives. He will be deeply missed. A private memorial service for friends and family is planned for early September. Public tributes will be ongoing, and the family has also announced the creation of the Derek Rieth Foundation, to provide musical instruments and music education to underprivileged young people. Donations to the Derek Rieth Foundation can be sent care of Pink Martini."

Portland police officers went to a home in the 5100 block of SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard just after 8 p.m. on a welfare check.

They found Rieth dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 43.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that Rieth died from the gunshot wound. His death was ruled a suicide.

Rieth played many percussion instruments for Pink Martini, including bongos, congas, cymbals and the triangle.

On Friday, Pink Martini posted a picture of Rieth on its Facebook page, with the dates 1971-2014.

The band's manager, Bill Tennant, said band members would not be commenting on Rieth's death at this time.

"Right now, to respect the family and friends, we're not going to make a further statement," he said.

Pink Martini will still play their scheduled sets at the Oregon Zoo Friday and Saturday.

"Derek would want nothing more than for the show to go on. We'll see you tonight and tomorrow at the zoo," the band said on Facebook.

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Portland police urged anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts to visit Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare or call 503-963-2575.


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