Eric Carr of Kiss died twenty years ago today (Nov. 24) after a brave battle with heart cancer. Carr replaced original drummer Peter Criss just prior to the sessions for the band’s 1981 album ‘Music from the Elder,’ and remained with the group until he passed away ten years later.

Carr’s hard-hitting and technically impressive drum style, as well as his enthusiastic spirit, has been credited with partially helping to re-invigorate Kiss, who were in a severe commercial slump when he joined the band. He went on to record seven studio albums, most certified platinum, with the group before the first signs of his health trouble emerged early in 1991.

Although he fought off a series of escalating medical challenges throughout the year, he was unable to participate in sessions for what would become their 1992 album ‘Revenge,’ and eventually succumbed to the disease after suffering both an an aneurysm and a brain hemorrhage.

Despite the fact that Carr was in Kiss for an extremely lengthy and successful period in the band’s career, his death was largely ignored by some in the mainstream rock media, partially as a result of the fact that Queen singer Freddie Mercury passed away on the exact same day.

Offended by the lack of coverage, his bandmates wrote an letter to Rolling Stone stating that they were “shocked and disappointed” at Carr’s death being ignored, citing him as “someone who still lived and believed in the spirit of rock and roll” and declaring that “we loved him, the fans loved him and he will never be forgotten.” (You can read the whole letter here.)

Carr’s spirit has indeed lived on in the hearts of Kiss fans. His family has successfully worked hard to keep his memory alive, most recently with the release of this year’s ‘Unfinished Business,’ a collection of unreleased solo tracks from throughout his musical career.

Next: Read Our List of the Top 10 Eric Carr Kiss Songs

Watch Kiss (with Eric Carr on Vocals) Perform ‘Black Diamond’