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R.E.M. drummer is leaving band

R.E.M., arguably the most acclaimed American rock group to emerge in the '80s, disclosed Thursday that drummer Bill Berry has left the band. The remaining members said that they will continue as a trio.

Berry, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 1995 but has since toured and recorded with the band, said that his decision is based on personal, not medical reasons.

"Physically my brain is in great shape," he said in a phone interview Thursday from Athens, Ga. "But I think going through the whole ordeal coming pretty close to death, may have affected my priorities."

Berry, 39, said he was hugely relieved when the band said it would continue.

The the band is expected to make the formal announcement of Berry's decision in a statement today.