Dan Achen, former lead guitarist for the rock band Junkhouse, has died of a suspected heart attack. He was 51.

During the 1990s, Achen was a key part of the Hamilton-based band that scored international success with the hit Out of My Head.

Achen, the owner of Catherine North recording studio in Hamilton, died while playing a game of pickup hockey with friends late Monday.

The guitarist was part of a close knit crew of music industry insiders who had been getting together for the past 10 years to play a friendly game every Monday and Thursday.

Achen first formed a band with Colin Cripps — now a sought-after session guitarist for artists such as Bryan Adams — and both would play together in Junkhouse.

Achen's niece Feist was among several internationally known artists who recorded at Catherine North over the past 10 years.

In 2008, he co-produced the Juno-winning album Bring Me Your Love, a solo project by Dallas Green of Alexisonfire.

"Making that record with Dan was one of the best experiences I ever had," Green said Tuesday in a statement.

"Not only in my career but in my life as well. I am deeply saddened by the loss of someone who I considered a good friend and a wonderful talent. I will miss you."

Rode on motorcycle from Regina

Achen was originally from Regina and moved to Hamilton in 1981.

"He rode from Regina on his Kawasaki Ninja all the way to Hamilton," recalled Junkhouse frontman Tom Wilson.

"He stopped at the Gown and Gavel and that's where he met Colin Cripps. That's basically how we all met him."

Cripps and Achen remained close even after the band dissolved. Achen was part of the wedding party when Cripps married Kathleen Edwards, the internationally known singer-songwriter.

"Dan Achen was a fireball redhead and his personality was a pretty good match for that red hair," recalls Edwards. "He was a great guitarist."

Funeral arrangements will be announced later this week.