Ronnie Montrose has died at the age of 64 after a long battle with prostate cancer. The celebrated guitarist passed away on Saturday (March 3) at his home in Millbrae, California.
Ronnie first made his name with Van Morrison, appearing on 1971’s Tupelo Honey album. He then joined The Edgar Winter Group, before forming Montrose in 1973.
Montrose the band will always be renowned for their iconic, self-titled, debut album, which is regarded as one of the finest hard rock releases of all time. Besides Ronnie on guitar, it featured vocalist Sammy ‘Sam’ Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi.
Montrose also founded 80s band Gamma, as well as working with the likes of Boz Scaggs and Paul Kantner.
Commenting on Montrose’s death, Hagar – who was a member of Montrose for the debut album as well as follow-up Paper Money – said:
“Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a frontman, as a recording artist, as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful.
“I was looking forward to a reunion for my birthday bash in Cabo with Denny, Bill and Ronnie — one of the few bands from that era where all four original members were still able to do it.
“It’s a shame to lose Ronnie and I’m so sorry for his loved ones. Rest in peace.”
Peter Frampton, Slash, Steve Lukather, Nikki Sixx and Dee Snider are among the stars to post tributes on Twitter:
Frampton: ‘Saddened to hear the passing of friend Ronnie Montrose. He was a wonderful person and an amazing guitar player. I will miss you dear Ronnie.’
Slash: ‘Myles [Kennedy] just told me Ronnie Montrose passed. fn’ shame. “Montrose” is one of the all time great R&R albums. Major influence. RIP man.’
Lukather: ‘My heart goes out to Ronnie Montrose and his family. Monster player and really nice guy. He will be missed…’
Sixx: ‘Ronnie Montrose’s first two “Montrose” albums & his work with Edger Winter changed my musical life forever. RIP.’
Snider: ‘Just found out that the legendary Ronnie Montrose died. That first Montrose album was life changing for me.’
A post on the homepage of www.ronniemontrose.com reads:
‘Ronnie Montrose – 1947-2012
‘A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday. He gave an impromptu speech, and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn’t take any of our love for granted.
‘He passed today. He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we’re glad to have shared with him while we could.’
At the time of his death, Montrose was working on a live DVD.