Elkin Ramírez, the lead singer of Colombian heavy metal and rock band Kraken, died on Sunday after a long battle with a malignant brain tumor. He was 54-years-old.
According to El Colombiano, Ramírez’s death was confirmed by his son (linked page is in Spanish), Andrés Ramírez. The singer, who is fondly referred to as “Elkin Kraken” by fans, reportedly died at the Antioquia Neurological Clinic in his hometown of Medellin on Sunday morning.
Ramírez, who created Kraken in the 1980s, is considered one of the pioneers of Colombian rock music. The announcement of his death has sent Colombians into mourning with many turning to social media platforms to express their condolences and pay tribute to him.
— Flick Projection (@flickprojection) January 29, 2017
Elkin Ramírez had been admitted at the Las Americas Clinic since last month due to health complications. The singer was diagnosed with fibrous edema in his left brain in 2015. The condition affected the right part of his brain, limiting his ability to move his right limbs. His vocal cords, eyes, ears, and sense of smell were also affected. Ramírez underwent a successful operation to remove the tumor (linked page is in Spanish), El Espectator reported. He continued to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other procedures.
However, his condition took a turn for the worst in December, 2016, due to undisclosed complications and Ramírez was admitted to the hospital.
Elkin Ramírez was born in October, 1962, in Medellin. From a young age, he had an interest in music. The self-taught musician was deeply influenced by Led Zeppelin. Elkin Kraken developed a unique music style and vocal technique that many have tried to imitate over the years. Before creating the six-man Kraken band, Ramírez was part of two bands briefly in the ’80s, namely Kripzy and Ferrotrack.
As a testament to his life’s work, Kraken is one of the biggest rock bands in Columbia today. The band celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 by recording and releasing a DVD of one of their shows. With the death of band leader Ramírez, it is unclear what will happen to Kraken.
During one of his final public appearances in July last year, Ramírez revealed that Kraken was working on a new album, according to El Colombiano. He noted that they were at the stage of mixing and mastering the records. While expressing optimism that their fans would like Kraken’s upcoming album, Ramírez thanked the fans for their continued support.
“Thank you for your loyalty, do not abandon us and understand that in difficult times you know the people who really love you. Kraken goes ahead, we go with everything, I love you all, and I miss you very much, see you soon,” he said.
— Noticias Uno (@NoticiasUno) January 29, 2017
It is unclear what will happen to Kraken with the death of Elkin Ramírez, who is said to have written and composed the band’s songs. It is also unclear whether the upcoming Kraken album that Ramírez was referring to is Kraken VI: On This Earth, which was released in September last year. Kraken VI was the band’s ninth studio album. Its release was reportedly delayed due to Ramírez’s ill health.
Last year, before the release of Kraken VI, Rolling Stone caught up with Elkin Ramírez to talk about people who have influenced his music (linked page is in Spanish), including Elton John, Black Sabbath, Nacha Guevara, and Kingdom Come.
Colombian heavy metal musicians and fans as well as the remaining members of Kraken have paid tribute to Elkin Ramírez on Facebook.
There have been no announcements of the funeral plans for the late rock star.
Check out this video tribute below to Kraken’s Elkin Ramírez.
[Featured Image by Jandres1]