Lemmy Kilmister, one of the most iconic frontman in rock and the leader of the long-running band Motorhead, died today after a battle with cancer, according to a post on Motorhead’s official Facebook page. He was 70.
For the past few years, the road warrior had a few health scares, causing Motorhead to cancel tour dates, and also assure fans that the big guy was still “alive and kicking.” While the rock and roll legend had suffered a haematoma a few years ago, he was reportedly diagnosed with cancer on December 26, 2015, just two days after his 70th birthday.
Here’s the news of Lemmy’s passing from the Motorhead FB page.
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.
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.
The British musician, born Ian Fraser Kilmister, started in the music scene in the 1960s before making his mark in 1972 in the space rock band Hawkwind. After being fired from the group in 1975, he went on to form Motorhead, eventually achieving success with the classic line-up of guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, and Lemmy on bass and vocals. The line-up paved the way from future generations with influential albums like Overkill (1979), Bomber (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), and Iron Fist (1982). By now, everyone knows the song “Ace Of Spades,” but the band’s back catalog is immense, as is their legacy.
After Clarke and Taylor (the latter of whom passed away last month at 61) left the Motorhead, Lemmy continued on with guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee, and the band had been touring and recording albums together for decades now. (Another Motorhead alum, Würzel, passed away on July 9, 2011 at 61.)
While the music was his life, Lemmy also lived a life of excess with drugs, booze, and women to go along with his rock and roll. He was the subject of the 2010 well-received documentary, Lemmy, that showed the rock star in his natural habitats, including LA’s famed Rainbow Bar and Grill, which is not far from his cluttered, memorabilia-filled apartment.
To say that Lemmy will be missed is a massive understatement, as the man has contributed to rock music like few others have, and has been a cultural icon and living legend for decades now. His song lyrics have always promoted his hard-living and hard-rocking philosophy. On 1984’s “Killed by Death,” the raspy vocalist states “the only time I’m easy’s when I’m killed by death,” and you knew he meant it. Even with his recent illnesses, fans the world over found it hard to believe that Lemmy’s rock and roll machine would ever come to a halt. To see Motorhead live was to witness greatness, and to get your ears blown out, as they were loud as hell. I have seen the band many, many times since the mid 1980s, and each time, it was amazing.
In the 1994 rock and roll comedy Airheads, Brendan Fraser’s asks “Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?,” it turns out it’s a trick question because “Lemmy is God,” and that sentiment right there was shared by the man’s fans til this day.
Each Christmas Eve in our home, as we say grace at our table, we add in a “Happy Birthday, Lemmy” to wish the man well. We did so again this year. Now, we raise a bottle of Jack Daniels, blast some Motorhead, and throw up the horns in his honor.
RIP Lemmy Kilmister
December 24, 1945 – December 28, 2015
Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (Official Video)
Lemmy Kilmister – Vocal And Bass; Eddie Clarke – Guitar; Phil Taylor – Drums
Motorhead Ace Of Spades Birmingham 2014. FEATURING FAST EDDIE CLARKE AND PHILTHY ANIMAL TAYLOR
Motorhead perform the ever amazing Ace Of Spades, at Birmingham NIA 2014, features original members Fast Eddie Clarke and Philthy Animal Taylor on stage once again.