Drummer with Iron Maiden;

Born: March 8, 1957; Died: March 12, 2013.

Clive Burr, who has died aged 56 from multiple sclerosis, was the drummer with Iron Maiden, Britain's biggest-selling heavy metal band, during their rise to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His frenetic, hit-em-hard style on the band's first three albums was one of the reasons for their early success. And before he was diagnosed with MS, Burr also believed his drumming style was responsible for his health problems.

He was born in London and grew up on a council estate in Manor Park in the East End. Before his parents bought him his first drum kit when he was 15 years old, Burr would hit anything that came to hand and his mother Klara used to worry that the neighbours would be upset by the noise.

After leaving school, he worked as a runner in the City but was always in bands. By the late 1970s the new wave of British heavy metal that combined metal with the aggression of punk was in ascendance and Burr was part of it. He played for Maya and then Samson before being asked to join Iron Maiden in 1979.

He played on the band's first three albums, Iron Maiden, Killers and The Number of the Beast, and contributed to their distinctive hard-driving sound on classic songs like Run for the Hills.

While on tour in 1982 his father Ronald died of a heart attack, aged just 57, and Burr returned to Britain for the funeral. By the time he returned to America the atmosphere, he said, had changed and he was asked to leave. Exactly why has always remained unclear, although Burr denied the rumours that it was because he was drinking too much. He said he drank no more and no less than anyone else in the band.

Burr said he tried not to get angry about the decision. "I was too upset to feel angry about it," he said. "There was a grieving period. I grieved for my dad and I grieved for my band – and then I brushed myself down and got on with it."

At first he attempted this by playing low-key gigs in pubs in disguise for the simple reason that he wanted to drum, but he also went on to work on a number of promising projects including Gogmagog with the former Iron maiden singer Paul Di'Anno and Def Leppard guitarist Peter Willis. However, after one EP, it came to nothing.

Then, in the late 1980s, Burr started to have problems with his hands. At first, it was just tingling and he assumed the drumming was to blame. He carried on regardless but eventually could ignore the symptoms no longer and was diagnosed with MS in 1994.

When his former bandmates heard about Burr's condition, they put on concerts to raise money for him and paid for a stairlift and a mobility vehicle he affectionately called the Clivemobile. In the last few years of his life, he was confined to a wheelchair and worked to raise money for MS research through his charity Clive Aid.

He is survived by his partner Mimi.