Chelsea Lauren/WireImageMetallica has shared a tribute to the late Hal Willner, who co-produced 2011's Lulu, the band's polarizing collaborative album with Lou Reed.
Willner, a music industry vet who worked on Saturday Night Live since the '80s and produced albums for artists including Reed, Marianne Faithful, Laurie Anderson and Lucinda Williams, died Tuesday on his 64th birthday from COVID-19 complications, according to Variety.
"He was a truly inspirational collaborator," Metallica writes of Willner. "Someone who through his unique combination of musical knowledge and warm personality, invigorated every project he touched, including co-producing our very own collaboration with Lou Reed, 2011's Lulu."
"Hal expertly helped to guide us all to a project we loved, and remain fiercely proud of, to this day," the metal legends add.
In his own statement, drummer Lars Ulrich remembers Willner as a "warm, open, and communicative person."
"As Lou's right-hand man, he was absolutely essential in pushing Lulu forward," Ulrich writes. "I'll never forget him, and I know I speak for the entire Metallica family when I say he will be greatly missed."
Willner's long, wide-ranging career also included production credits on a series of star-studded tribute albums paying homage to such artists and subjects as Leonard Cohen, German composer Kurt Weill, jazz legends Charles Mingus and Thelonius Monk, Disney film music and traditional sea chanteys.
Among the many artists who contributed to these various projects were Reed, Sting, Tom Waits, Ringo Starr, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Harry Nilsson, Keith Richards, Cohen, Elvis Costello, U2, Patti Smith, Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and Bryan Ferry.
In addition, Willner produced the acclaimed live performance series Sunday Night during the late 1980s.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.