The businessman, who’d been on board since a year after the company was founded in 1988, had been ill for some time, and had stepped back from day-to-day duties alongside founder Robert Kampf.
The independent label’s roster of around 100 bands includes Buckcherry, Iced Earth, In This Moment and Fozzy, and previously worked with Strapping Young Lad, Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Avantasia, among many others.
Former North American label president Don Robertson tells Billboard: “Century Media has been a force in music for over twenty-five years under Oliver’s leadership. It was an honour to work with him.”
Nuclear Blast co-founder and ex-Roadrunner A&R chief Monte Connor called Withoft’s death “a real tragedy”.
Another ex-colleague, Ula Gehret of Clandestine Music, comments: “It is no exaggeration to say that without his tutelage and patience I would not be where I am today, doing something I love, and with principle.
“My heart goes out to his wife Judith and their three daughters, to his long-time friend and business partner Robert, his parents and the rest of his family. The last time I heard from him, about ten days ago, he told me of his problems and said once he felt better he looked forward to sitting together in a Dortmund corner bar and drinking beer all night. One day, somewhere, I’ll take him up on that offer.”
A memorial service will be held in Cadiz, Spain, on Saturday.