Another legendary rocker has passed away. Influential guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who played with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison and Edgar Winter, died at his home in Millbrae on Saturday, March 3. His booking agent, Jim Douglas, told The Associated Press the 64-year-old had been battling prostate cancer and "personal demons."
A statement regarding the passing of the guitarist, who formed his own band Montrose in 1973 with Sammy Hagar, has been released on his website. "A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose's 64th birthday," it began. "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," the statement continued to read. "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."
Many rock and metal musicians have since reacted to the sad news. Among those was none other than former bandmate Hagar, who wrote on his official website, "Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a front man, as a recording artist, as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful."
"I was looking forward to a reunion for my birthday bash in Cabo with Denny, Bill and Ronnie - one of the few bands from that era where all four original members were still able to do it," the former Van Halen frontman further added. "It's a shame to lose Ronnie and I'm so sorry for his loved ones. Rest in peace."
Some others like Slash and Dee Snider, meanwhile, offered their condolences through Twitter. Slash wrote, "Myles just told me Ronnie Montrose passed. Fn' shame. 'Montrose' is one of the all-time great [rock and roll] albums. Major influence. RIP, man," and Snider tweeted, "Just found out that the legendary Ronnie Montrose died. That first Montrose album was life changing for me. #RIPRonnieMontrose."
Nikki Sixx also took to Twitter to share Montrose's significance in his career. "Ronnie Montrose's first two 'Montrose' albums & his work with [Edgar] Winter changed my musical life forever.RIPMontrose," so the Motley Crue co-founder gushed. Additionally, Kip Winger noted, "I had the pleasure of working with Ronnie not too long ago. He was a real gem, very giving and very talented. A great loss to the world. RIP, Ronnie."
Montrose is survived by his wife, Leighsa, as well as a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.