Jill Janus of Huntress Dead at 42

One of metal’s most talented singers has lost her battle with mental health

Huntress Jill Janus

Huntress lead singer Jill Janus has passed away at the age of 43. The band released the following statement on their Facebook page:

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. 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.

Janus was a truly special creative involved with numerous musical projects including her role as vocalist for female metal/hard rock cover bands TheStarbreakers and Chelsea Girls. In addition, Janus was 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. Her musical career began in childhood.

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. She will be missed more than she could have ever known.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress.

Blake Mehal, Huntress‘ guitarist and Jill Janus‘ partner of 9 years posted his own tribute:

Jill Janus: Career

Jill Janus was a unique individual: a trained opera singer, former topless DJ, Playboy model, pagan witch and more.

In 2010 Huntress self released their debut EP Off With Her Head and in 2011 their Eight of Swords single gained them attention, thanks to Jill Janus’ voice and the video which featured Janus in a breathtaking outfit.  The video currently has 1.4 million views on YouTube.

The first full length Huntress album, Spell Eater, was released in 2012, spawning a video for the title track.  In 2013 they would release Starbound Beast which reached number 12 on the US Heatseekers album chart and released a video for the song Zenith. The video would receive a nomination for Best Film and Video in 2013’s Revolver Golden Gods Awards.

In July 2015 Jill Janus spoke frankly with Revolver, stating that she suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar and associative personality disorder (multiple personalities) from the age of 13 but wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 20.  She had first attempted suicide at 16. Following the recording of each album Janus’ mental health would worsen and following the recording of the band’s third album she would require hospitalisation to prevent her from harming herself and/or others. Janus also spoke about how she had been diagnosed with cancer resulting in a hysterectomy the month before.

On September 25th 2015 the third Huntress album, Static, was released along with a video for Sorrow but the band were forced to pull out of a tour with Avatar as Janus was still in intense pain from her surgery. On October 28th she posted on Facebook that Huntress was no more and that she would release music in future on her own terms but the post was deleted, with Blake Mehal later posting that Huntress were still together, but that Jill’s mental health was going through a difficult bout which had resulted in her post.

Since then Janus worked on other musical projects like cover bands The Chelsea Girls and The Starbreakers. She had her own range of unique jewellery and occult related products that she made available through Etsy. On June 25th of this year Jill unveiled her new musical project, Victory: A Rock Opera which you can check out on the website.

In the UK you can talk anonymously to The Samaritans by calling free on 116 123 if you feel that you are at risk of suicide.  The number is free to call from landlines and mobile phones; you do not need to have credit to call and the call will not show up on bills.  Alternatively you can email jo@samaritans.org Their service is non-religious and completely confidential allowing you to openly discuss any issues affecting you.