Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister dies at 70
Lemmy Kilmister, the founding member and frontman of Motörhead, and a leading figure in hard rock's resurgence in the late '70s and its endurance since, has died of cancer, according to the band's Facebook page. He was 70 years old.
"There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Kilmister passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer," the band wrote on Facebook, adding that the rock veteran had just learned of his condition on December 26th (two days after his birthday), while at home with his family, "sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow... We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren't words."
The man known to most as simply Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister inStaffordshire, England, and founded Motörhead in 1975. In his long tenure as the group's singer, bassist and primary songwriter -- he was its sole remaining original member -- Lemmy became a heavy metal icon; though the group's hard-charging approach also nodded to punk, and appealed to its fans.
Kilmister, whose gruff vocals and pummeling bass were central to that sound, cut a distinctive presence offstage as well, with his mutton chops and prominent facial moles. He appeared in a number of films and video games, and inspired a titular 2010 documentary that featured such admirers as Dave Navarro, Alice Cooper, Nikki Sixx and Slash.
Kilmister's recent cancer diagnosis had been preceded by a number of health problems over the last few years, during which he had a pacemaker installed and battled hematoma. Mötorhead cancelled and postponed tour dates due to his struggles.
But the band, and Kilmister, forged on, releasing 22 studio albums; their last, Bad Magic, made its bow in August 2015. In an interview with USA TODAY earlier this year, the rocker said he originally envisioned Motörhead lasting "about six months. You don't actually think like that. You don't think, "We're going to last a thousand years."
Kilmister opened for Ozzy Osbourne on Motörhead's first U.S. tour in 1981. Osbourne took to Twitter to express his grief late Monday. "Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today," Osbourne tweeted. "He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side."