San Jose Mercury News reports indicate that the Bay Area’s legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who died back on March 3rd of this year, committed suicide by shooting himself. Montrose’s family confirmed the suicide in a statement on their website which read:
“By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie’s death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible. We can only hope that you will choose to celebrate Ronnie’s life, and what his music meant to you, rather than mourn his passing. Ronnie would have wanted it that way. He loved being a guitarist, a composer, a producer, and a creator of magic. He fully understood his gifts, and yet he constantly pushed himself to evolve, improve, and make better music. He did this for himself, and he did this for you, because he adored and appreciated his fans. Please keep his energy, his joy, and his love in your hearts.”
Montrose, whose real name is Ronald Douglas Montrose, had been battling cancer for several years in addition to dealing with his “personal demons,” according to his booking agent Jim Douglas. A toxicology report on Montrose indicated that his blood-alcohol level was 0.31% upon death and no other intoxicants were found in his system.
Leighsa Montrose, Ronnie’s wife as well as manager, revealed in a chilling interview with Guitar Player the final moments of her husband’s life. The two had been exchanging text messages when Ronnie said, “I have the .38 in my hand and am ready to go.” Leighsa, with great concern for her husband, requests that he meet her down at her design studio, where she was working at the time, and he simply replied:
“I can’t. I’ve got the gun to my head.”
After rushing back to her home in Millbrae, California, she found Montrose in a living room recliner with the .38 revolver in hand and cellphone laying at his feet. His wife claims he struggling throughout his life with alcohol addiction and clinical depression.
Joe Satriani will be filling in for Ronnie as guitarist during a tribute concert, which will include fellow musician Sammy Hagar, scheduled to be held at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom in his honor. Montrose was born in S.F., CA. The concert is already sold out.
Rest in peace rock legend Ronnie Montrose, you will be missed.