Nick Mason has compared Roger Waters’ departure from Pink Floyd to the death of Joseph Stalin.

Speaking to Mojo magazine, the musician said it took many years for the band to adapt to the singer's absence because Waters had been such a pivotal figure. As well as being the bass player, he shared lead vocals and was also lyricist.

“It must have been the same when Stalin died," declared the drummer. “It took quite a while (to recover), it was a three or four year period.”

The death of Russian leader Josef Stalin in 1953 famously sparked a fierce power struggle for succession in the Soviet Union.

Mason discussed the actual moment in 1984 when Waters announced his plans to leave. “Roger thought we were all going to call it a day, and David (Gilmour) and I thought Roger was going to call it a day and we were going to carry on,” he recalled.

Waters officially left the band in 1985. Earlier this month he issued an unequivocal statement on Facebook telling fans to “get a grip.” He had been asked about his role, if any, in the final Pink Floyd album.

“I don’t have an album coming out,” he said. “David Gilmour and Nick Mason have an album coming out. It's called Endless River. David and Nick constitute the group Pink Floyd.”