Legendary rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose has passed away after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, he was 64 years old. Born in Denver, Colorado on November 29, 1947, Montrose passed away on March 3rd after fighting prostate cancer since 2007.
A posting on Montrose’s official website reads, “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.”
“I had prostate cancer that for me was debilitating,” Montrose said in a 2011 interview with the Modesto Bee. “I didn’t touch a guitar for two years, but when I realized I was seeing the light at the end of the recovery tunnel and was going to live pain-free, I realized again that it was a fun little instrument to play.”
Montrose cut his teeth as a session player with Van Morrison, playing on the 1971 album ‘Tupelo Honey’. He joined the Edgar Winter Band for the classic ‘They Only Come out at Night’ album, which featured “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” In 1973, he formed Montrose, and after auditioning a 24-year-old Eddie Money to be the lead singer, hired Sammy Hagar to front the band. Hagar stayed for two albums before going solo and eventually joining Van Halen, but Montrose continued on.
The guitarist formed the band Gamma in 1979, and all of his 18 albums between 1973 and 2000 were with Montrose or Gamma or were Ronnie Montrose solo albums. His last full-length studio album was ‘Gamma 4’, released in 2000.
The original Montrose remains the stuff of rock and roll legend, the ultimate stateside power trio with vocals. The songs are a virtual greatest hits of American hard rock: “Rock the Nation,” “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Space Station #5,” “I Got the Fire,” “Jump On It,” and the immortal “Rock Candy.”
Randy “Rocket” Cody of TMD adds:
“Man, how I loved Montrose… still do! Every now and then I get that itch to crank up “Bad Mooter Scooter”… and ride, man… ride. Life is too short to sit around in the same ole place. God bless, Ronnie.. RIP! And from the bottom of my heart ‘thanks’ for all the rocking music over the years!”