No cause of death has been revealed, but longtime collaborator cEvin Key (of Skinny Puppy) posted a tribute message on Facebook along with the above photo. According to the date on the image, Western passed away yesterday (February 9).
Western's Facebook page has been updated with an uncaptioned photo of the artist, and friends and fans have been posting tribute messages in the comments section.
UPDATE (2/11, 3 p.m. EST): According to a follow-up post on Western's Facebook page written by his family, the musician is believed to have died of an accidental overdose. You can read their post below. Bryan Adams, who worked with Western, also shared a tribute post, which you can also find below.
This is my mate Phil Western who passed away accidentally last weekend from an overdose of what was most likely caused by fentanyl. Phil was an amazingly talented keyboard programmer (and very funny too) who worked on a few of my recordings, most notably the album "on a day like today". Listen to songs like "inside out" and "when you're gone", you'll hear Phil's wonderful subliminal sounds. All my love to his family and his beautiful daughter❤️. I'll never forget you Phil, and thank you for all the music and sounds you gave to the world x
Artoffact Records, the label that released many of Western's albums, wrote on Facebook, "The last 4 or so years have been all Phil, all the time. The last record he worked on will be released in about a month, as much a proof of his genius as one could want. We will release it, smiling through our tears."
Western was a veteran experimental musician known for his work alongside cEvin Key in the electronic outfit Download. Other projects included PlatEAU, Off and Gone, Frozen Rabbit, Beehatch and more. He also made solo music, collaborated with Skinny Puppy, and ran his own imprint called the Record Company.
Download have a new album titled Unknown Room due out on March 8 via Artoffact Records.