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LEMMY, R.I.P.

Founding Motörhead frontman and heavy metal icon Lemmy—born Ian Fraser Kilmister—has passed away at the age of 70 after "a short battle with extremely aggressive cancer," the band announced today via Facebook. The message can be seen below in its entirety.

The news has sparked an outpouring from fellow artists and fans alike across social media.

Motörhead released 23 studio albums since the mid-'70s and achieved 30m in sales worldwide to date. They released their last album, Bad Magic, this past August. Lemmy, the bassist, principal songwriter and only constant member of the group, was known for a loud, fast playing style that infused elements of both punk and classic rock. A documentary on the star's life, simply titled Lemmy, was released in 2010.

He celebrated his birthday on Christmas Eve and hosted a star-studded party a few days prior (12/13) at The Whisky with performances from the likes of Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Billy Idol, Sebastian Bach, Metallica's Robert Trujillo, Zakk Wylde and Anthrax's Scott Ian and Charlie Benante

A statement from Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow hails the late musician as "a remarkable frontman and bona fide heavy metal icon," adding:

Lemmy’s raw, powerful vocals, paired with his innovative bass playing and songwriting skills, made him one of the most prominent figures in rock and roll. His magnetic stage presence and willingness to break barriers propelled the metal genre to new heights, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process. We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community and our sincerest condolences go out to Lemmy’s family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his work.

The hard-rock icon earned the nickname Lemmy while in grade school but claimed to have no idea where it came from.

His journey in music included early prog rock, hard rock, metal and rockabilly, though in his mind, it all connected with Chuck Berry's music from the 1950s. His inspiration to play music was The Beatles' "Please Please Me," which came out when he was 16; he played in a string of bands starting in 1965 until he joined Hawkwind in 1972 as bassist and singer.

Hawkwind, which released the classic Space Ritual during his tenure, sent Lemmy packing in 1975 after he was arrested on drug charges in Canada.

He formed Mothorhead, originally called Bastard, soon thereafter, with Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox; it was the rare metal band to use elements of pun k rock in its sound. Drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, who followed Lemmy in Motorhead longevity and died Nov. 11, replaced Fox and in 1980-81, the band peaked commercially with the song "Ace of Spades" and the album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. 

While Lemmy's cancer diagnosis came less than a week before his death, he had been dealing with health issues for several years. In 2013, he was diagnosed with diabetes, which led to several tour cancellations. He became  ill in Salt Lake City in September and attempted to soldier on, but wound up bailing on  an Austin, Texas, show after just three songs.  

Our hearts are with friends, family and all members of the rock community during this difficult time.

As the band urges, "have a drink or few... and play Lemmy's music LOUD"



There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive 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.

We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please…play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD.

Have a drink or few.

Share stories.

Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.

HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.

Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister
1945 -2015
Born to lose, lived to win.

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