Legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose died Saturday following a five-year battle with prostate cancer.
He was 64 years old.
Ronnie’s website has been updated with the following message:
"A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose's 64th birthday. He gave an impromptu speech, and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn't take any of our love for granted.
"He passed today. He'd battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we're glad to have shared with him while we could."
A renowned musician, Ronnie did session work with the likes of Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock and Boz Scaggs before joining the Edgar Winter Group; he formed his own band, Montrose, in 1973. The group - which included vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi – released its self-titled debut in the fall of that year.
The “Montrose” album, with songs like “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Rock The Nation” and “Rock Candy,” was under appreciated in its time but has since become considered the template for much of the American hard rock and heavy metal that was to follow; Van Halen have cited it as a reference point, even using its producer, Ted Templeman, in their own work.
Ronnie would go on to form Gamma in 1979; the band went on to issue three albums before Montrose returned to his solo career.
The original Montrose lineup reformed to play as a special guest at several Sammy Hagar concerts in summer 2004 and 2005.
Montrose – Bad Motor Scooter