Report by Martin Kielty/Source Classicrockmagazine.co.uk
The tragic death of Ronnie Montrose is still under investigation, police have revealed – despite fans’ belief that the 64-year-old last month lost his battle against cancer.
The guitar legend, who worked with artists including Sammy Hagar, Van Morrison and Edgar Winter, passed away on March 3.
He had been fighting prostate cancer for several years, and fans assumed the killer disease ended his life. Their belief was reinforced by a carefully worded statement from his official website – although Montrose himself had recently said his cancer was in remission, and unlikely to return.
Now police officers, investigating the incident in Brisbane, San Mateo County, California, have admitted it’s not an open-and-shut case – and they’ve refused to reveal further details, pending a coroner’s inquest.
Responding to a Classic Rock inquiry, Jeannette Maldonado of Brisbane Police said: “This department has received your request for a copy of the report involving Mr Ronnie Montrose.
“This case is still under investigation, pending the coroner’s report, and is not available for release.”
A straightforward coroner’s autopsy, when cause of death is known or strongly suspected, can take between two and six hours to complete.
After Montrose’s death at the beginning of March, his official website released a statement saying: “A few months ago we held a surprise party for Ronnie’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.
“True to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life.”