Drummer Aaron Solowoniuk has announced he's taking a break from award-winning Canadian rock band Billy Talent to focus on his health.
Solowoniuk, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his mid-twenties, has "been dealing with a relapse" for the past six to seven months, he told fans of the pop punk band in a video message posted Friday on the band's YouTube channel.
"I'm going to be switching medicine this week and doing everything I can to get healthy," he said in the emotional missive.
The Mississauga, Ont.-based quartet formed in 1993, has won a raft of Junos and MuchMusic Video Awards and toured around the globe.
Solowoniuk's decision comes as the band is currently working on a forthcoming album. The group has enlisted colleague Jordan Hastings from AlexisonFire to stand in for him.
"It's pretty cool to see. He's such a good drummer," Solowoniuk said of Hastings. "I'm going to be taking a lot of pictures and filming and documenting everything that's going on."
In 2011, Solowoniuk helped launch someonelikeme.com, a youth-targeted website for young people affected by MS.
Though he has lived with the neurodegenerative disease for more than 15 years, and says MS has never stopped him from recording or touring, "I don't know how long it's going to take for me to get better," he admitted.
"Rest assured that I am going to be doing everything I can to get back on the drums. But right now I need to step away for a bit and focus on my health."