Motörhead lead singer, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, is dead at the age of 70, according to a statement released by bandmates. The founding member and singer of the British heavy metal band was diagnosed with cancer on December 26.
The statement follows the announcement of the death of another famous person just within the past few days. In a related Inquisitr report, Harlem Globetrotter and Hall of Famer Meadowlark Lemon died this past Sunday at age 83.
The Motörhead lead singer formed the band in 1975 and has since recorded 22 albums, various live and compilation records, and four EP’s. The band’s most recent studio production, Bad Magic, was released in August.
In addition to being the band’s frontman, Lemmy was also the bassist and primary songwriter. The band’s most notable track was the 1980s single, “Ace of Spades.”
Many fans and friends took to Twitter to pay tribute to the rock legend.
Lemmy had been struggling with health problems in recent years. In 2013, the Motörhead singer underwent surgery to have a pacemaker placed in his chest. Several shows had to be cancelled or postponed due to exhaustion and a hematoma. However, he continued to perform as much as he could, despite age and health.
Born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, England, most knew him simply as Lemmy. He was determined to become a musician after seeing The Beatles perform in concert.
His illustrious music career began as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. Although Lemmy had no idea how to play, he became the bass player for UK rock group Hawkwind in 1972. Before forming Motörhead, he was also a part of other rock bands, including the Rockin’ Vickers and Sam Gopal.
Motörhead is known for its loud, fast music, and particularly for Lemmy’s distinctive snarling voice. The band has never considered themselves either heavy metal or punk. Yet, many credit them for influencing much of the speed and thrash metal genre that became popular in later years.
Throughout the years, Lemmy may have contributed in large part to the creation of the iconic rock star image. Mixing drugs, alcohol and rock-n-roll was a way of life. His fixations only added to his infamy, even claiming to have drunk a bottle of Jack Daniel’s every day since turning 30. More recently, the singer announced he quit drinking whiskey and replaced it with vodka for “health reasons.”
Lemmy has appeared in numerous films and even video games. He was the inspiration for a 2010 documentary that featured other rockers and admirers Dave Navarro, Alice Cooper, Nikki Sixx, and Slash.
Earlier this year, Lemmy spoke with USA Today about the lasting popularity and longevity of Motörhead. The gravelly-voiced rock star said he found it surprising the band lasted longer than six months.
When asked when he thought the band would end, the singer responded, “When I die, probably. You’re never going to find another lead singer. Good or bad, hate it or love it, you’re never going to find two.”
Lemmy’s prediction turned out to be true. The band’s drummer, Mikkey Dee, confirmed this morning that the singer’s death is also the end of the band.
“Motörhead is over, of course. Lemmy was Motörhead. We won’t be doing any more tours or anything. And there won’t be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone.”
Born in 1945, Lemmy Kilmister joins the list of other famous people who died in 2015.
Musicians B.B. King, Demis Roussos, Allen Toussaint, and Lynn Anderson all died this year. Additionally, actors Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee, Dick Van Patten, and Yvonne Craig also passed on.
The death of Motörhead’s lead singer came as quite a shock to fans and friends. Lemmy and the rest of the band were scheduled to begin touring the UK and France in 2016. Surviving band members include Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Coachella]