Photo Credit: Ray Flotat
Lemmy Kilmister – the bassist, vocalist and founding member of legendary English rock band Motörhead, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 70. American music historian and radio personality Eddie Trunk confirmed his passing in a tweet posted on the afternoon of December 28, 2016.
Sorry to report that I have confirmed Lemmy @myMotorhead has passed away just now at the age of 70. RIP to a true original icon of rock.
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) December 29, 2015
According to a post on the official Motorhead Facebook page, Kilmister died after a short battle with an extremely aggressive form of cancer.
He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family.
We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words.
For many music fans, Lemmy represented the ultimate rock god, living a hard-and-fast lifestyle, famously fueled by a copious and unapologetic intake of drugs and alcohol.
He was inspired to play music by the Beatles, served as a roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and got his first big break serving as the bassist for the legendary and influential hard-rock group Hawkwind. He was eventually fired from the band for “taking the wrong drugs,” went on to form his own band Motörhead in 1975, and remained the sole constant member. His hard, fast and loud sound was able to bring the metal-heads and punks together in a manner that was never accomplished before at the time, and has rarely sounded as organic since. He simply refused to call his genre-transcendent take on heavy metal as anything but “rock ‘n roll.”
While the news of Lemmy’s sudden cancer diagnosis and death came as a shock to the music community, it is not his first health issue of late. He had been diagnosed with a hematoma, in 2013 he was fitted with a defibrillator for his heart, and in September of this year Motörhead announced he was recovering from a lung infection. Many of these ailments led to sets being cut short or even cancelled. Despite his ongoing health issues (as well as the death of several other band members), he has continuously kept active. Motörhead released the LP Bad Magic in August of 2015 and a subsequent music video for “When The Sky Comes Looking For You” just earlier this month.
Watch the classic Motörhead hit from 1980, “Ace of Spades”: