Motorhead frontman, rock icon ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister dead at 70 |
Obituary Stories

Motorhead frontman, rock icon ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister dead at 70

The Associated Press
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2013 file photo, author Jackie Collins arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscars Viewing and After Party in West Hollywood, Calif. Collins, died in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, of breast cancer. She was 77. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Wes Craven, whose 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and 'Scream' movies made him one of the most recognizable names in the horror film genre, has died. He was 76. Craven's family said in a statement that he died in his Los Angeles home Sunday after battling brain cancer.
John Altdorfer
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto with Elsie Hillman during the WQED's 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Pittsburgh Golf Club in Schenely Park, Oakland. April 1, 2014.
John Altdorfer | For Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto chats with Elsie Hillman during WQED's 60th Anniversary Celebration on April 1, 2014, at the Pittsburgh Golf Club in Schenely Park.
FILE JULY 31: Former professional wrestler 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper died July 31, 2015, reportedly of natural causes, at his home in Hollywood, California. Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006. He was 61. HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: Actor Roddy Piper attends the world premiere of 'The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?' at the Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for TDOSLWH)
In this June 19, 1980 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan and Sen. Richard Schweiker, R-Pa., right, answer questions for reporters during Reagan's swing through Washington. Schweiker, Reagan's 1976 vice presidential running mate, was named to head an advisory committee on health and welfare matters for Reagan. Schweiker, a liberal Republican who later served in Reagan's Cabinet, has died. He was 89.
Actor Omar Sharif speaks about his career at the American Film Institute's 'A Tribute to Omar Sharif' in Hollywood, Calif., in this Nov. 11, 2003 file photo. Sharif, best known for his title role as 'Doctor Zhivago' in the Oscar-winning film, has died, Egyptian state television said. He was 83.
Saxophonist Ornette Coleman performs during the 40th Montreux Jazz festival in Montreux on July 2, 2006. Coleman, a self-taught saxophone player who polarized the jazz world with his unconventional 'free jazz' before coming to be regarded as an avant garde genius, died on Thursday, June 11, 2015, in New York at the age of 85.
Douglas D. Danforth, of Ligonier and Naples Fla., who died Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in Pittsburgh.
AFP/Getty Images
British actor Christopher Lee arrives on the red carpet to attend the royal world premiere of the new James Bond film 'Skyfall' at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Oct. 23, 2012. Christopher Lee, famous for playing Dracula, and villains in The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, has died aged 93 on June 7, 2015.
University of Pittsburgh
John M. Petersen
Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash arrives to the 74th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California, in this file photo taken March 24, 2002. Nash, whose life was portrayed in the movie 'A Beautiful Mind', died along with his wife Alicia on Saturday in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, according to news reports.
In this Aug. 27, 2008 photo, blues legend B.B. King poses during an interview in Los Angeles. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday, May 14, 2015, at home in Las Vegas. He was 89.
Singer Ben E. King poses backstage at the 11th annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada in this November 11, 2010 file photo.
In this March 14, 2005 file photo, Percy Sledge accepts his award during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York. Sledge, who recorded the classic 1966 soul ballad 'When a Man Loves a Woman,' died Tuesday April 14, 2015. He was 74.
Actor James Best
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime ,inister of Singapore, died at age 91 on Monday, March 23, 2015.
Chuck Bednarik of the Philadelphia Eagles is shown on July 29, 1959. The Hall of Famer died on Saturday, March 21, 2015.
Fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, died Thursday March 12, 2015, at age 66.
Sam Simon, co-creator of 'The Simpsons' talks while visiting a farm in Vista, Calif., on Aug. 19, 2014. Simon died at age 59 on March 8, 2015, according to his agent.
Former Negro Leaguer and Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso stands during the national anthem before a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers on Aug. 24, 2013, in Chicago. Minoso, Major League Baseball's first black player in Chicago, died on Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Spock on 'Star Trek,' died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Arnaud de Borchgrave at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on June 3, 2014.
UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian flashes a big smile during a news conference prior to facing Duke in the NCAA Final Four on April 2, 1990, in Denver. Tarkanian, a Hall of Fame coach who built a basketball dynasty at UNLV but was defined more by his decades-long battle with the NCAA, died Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, in Las Vegas after several years of health issues. He was 84.
Gary Glick, the first overall pick in the 1956 NFL Draft, played four seasons with the Steelers. He died Feb. 11, 2015.
Getty Images
Former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith has died at the age of 83.
FILE - In this 1970 file photo, Chicago Cubs' Ernie Banks poses with a baseball bat. The Cubs announced Friday night, Jan. 23, 2015, that Banks had died. The team did not provide any further details. Banks was 83. (AP Photo/File)
In this Friday, June 27, 2014 file photo, Saudi King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at his private residence in the Red Sea city of in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
In this Nov. 15, 1955 file photo, Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, poses for a photograph on her arrival at London airport from Stockholm to take part in the film Zarak Khan, with Victor Mature, Michael Wilding and Eunice Gayson. Anita Ekberg, the Swedish-born actress and sex-symbol of the 1950s and '60s who was immortalized bathing in the Trevi fountain in 'La Dolce Vita,' has died. She was 83. Ekberg's lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi confirmed her death Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.
Andrae Crouch displays his two Grammys backstage at the 37th annual Grammy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 1, 1995.
In a July 16, 2008 file photo, Stuart Scott poses in the press room at the ESPYs Awards in Los Angeles. Scott, the longtime SportsCenter anchor and ESPN personality known for his enthusiasm, died Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 after a long fight with cancer. He was 49.
Television sitcom 'family,' the Clampetts, of the series 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' are shown, stand from left to right, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas and Bea Benaderet, and seated, Buddy Ebsen, July 19, 1962, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Mario Cuomo, former three-term governor of New York, passed away on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, at the age of 82. He died a few hours after his son, Andrew Cuomo, was formally sworn in to a second term as governor of New York.
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister performs on the Pyramid stage during Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, England, in June.
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister performs on the Pyramid stage during Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, England, in June.

LOS ANGELES — Lanky and long-haired, with mutton chops and moles, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister looked and lived like a hard-rock hero. He founded Motorhead in 1975, and continued recording and touring with the band until his death.

He began every legendary live show with the announcement, “We are Motorhead, and we play rock and roll!”

The singer and bassist died Monday at age 70 after a brief battle with aggressive cancer, said his agent Andrew Goodfriend. He had learned of the diagnosis just two days earlier, according to a statement from the band.

“We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words,” the band said in announcing the death on its Facebook page. “Play Motorhead 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.”

Born on Christmas Eve, 1945, in Staffordshire, England, Kilmister was deeply respected and revered as a rock master and innovator, from his time with the seminal psychedelic band Hawkwind in the early 1970s to his four decades in Motorhead, best known for the 1980 anthem “Ace of Spades.” The band won a Grammy for 2004’s best metal performance.

Ozzy Osbourne called him “one of my best friends.”

“He will be sadly missed,” Osbourne wrote on Twitter late Monday. “He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side.”

Metallica tweeted: “Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We’re forever grateful for all of your inspiration.”

And numerous other rock musicians took to social media to pay tribute, including Queen guitarist Brian May, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer, who tweeted, “RIP #Lemmy heaven is Rockin tonight.”

In a Tuesday statement, Alice Cooper said Kilmister was “one of the most beloved characters in rock’n roll. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t adore Lemmy; you can’t say ‘heavy metal’ without mentioning Lemmy.”

The Recording Academy also noted the loss to the music industry, calling Kilmister “a remarkable frontman and bona fide heavy metal icon.”

“His magnetic stage presence and willingness to break barriers propelled the metal genre to new heights, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement. “We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.