More details have come out on the March 3rd passing of Ronnie Montrose.
Guitar Player reports the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office has confirmed the guitarist died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It was originally assumed that Montrose’s death was related to his battle with prostate cancer, but the weekend that it happened, Ronnie’s website shared the news, which included a cryptic message about the event. "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."
Now, Ronnie’s site has been updated to address the news from the coroner’s report.
“By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie’s death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible. We can only hope that you will choose to celebrate Ronnie’s life, and what his music meant to you, rather than mourn his passing. Ronnie would have wanted it that way. He loved being a guitarist, a composer, a producer, and a creator of magic. He fully understood his gifts, and yet he constantly pushed himself to evolve, improve, and make better music. He did this for himself, and he did this for you, because he adored and appreciated his fans. Please keep his energy, his joy, and his love in your hearts.”
Montrose did not leave a suicide note, but his wife/manager Leighsa Montrose tells Guitar player that she feels he was probably always planning for an exit.
“Ronnie had a very difficult childhood, which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy,” said Leighsa. “This is why he always drove himself so hard. He never thought he was good enough. He always feared he’d be exposed as a fraud. So he was exacting in his self criticism, and the expectations he put upon himself were tremendous. Now I see that perhaps he didn’t want to carry these burdens for very much longer.”
The torment of self-doubt likely contributed to Montrose’s long-term alcoholism. The toxicology report showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.31% when he died—almost four times the legal limit in California. No evidence of other drugs was found in his system.
Prior to taking his life, Ronnie exchanged a series of text messages with Leighsa, who was working at her design studio; the messages indicated his plans. “Ronnie always had a dark and bizarre sense of humor,” said Leighsa. “And, at this point, I truly thought he was speaking in metaphors.”
Read all the details at Guitar Player here.
“A Concert For Ronnie Montrose – A Celebration of His Life In Music” will see Sammy Hagar reunite the original Montrose band, plus Joe Satriani, to perform the group’s landmark 1973 debut album...plus a variety of special guests.
Read up on the tribute concert here.
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