Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, bassist and frontman of heavy metal legends Motörhead and former member of Hawkwind, has died of cancer, only two days after his initial diagnosis and following years of other serious health problems. He was 70 years old. The rest of the band have shared an official statement via Facebook, which you can read below.
There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made its way down the street, with his family.
We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words.
We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please…play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD.
Have a drink or few.
Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.
HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.
Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister
Born to lose, lived to win.
Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England on Christmas Eve, 1945. He played in a number of bands in his teens and 20s before being recruited as a bassist and vocalist for space-rock group Hawkwind in 1972, despite having never played bass before. After contributing to several albums, he was kicked out of the band in 1975 when he was arrested at the US/Canadian border for cocaine possession (although the “cocaine” in question turned out to be speed, and he was eventually released without charge).
It was then that Lemmy formed Motörhead — originally called Bastard — with guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox, who were soon replaced by “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, now known as the band’s “classic” lineup. Motörhead released their self-titled debut album in 1977 and quickly rose to success, becoming beloved by punks and metalheads alike.
Although the band went through many lineup changes in its four decades of existence, eventually re-solidifying into the trio of Lemmy, guitarist Phil Campbell, and drummer Mikkey Dee in 1992, Lemmy was both its principal songwriter and sole constant member — essentially, he was Motörhead. He was an icon, and this is truly sad news.
Revisit our ranking of Motörhead’s extensive discography here, and blast some loud music tonight in his honor.
Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side.
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) December 29, 2015
Farewell Lemmy. I love you brother.
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) December 29, 2015
— Joe Perry (@JoePerry) December 29, 2015
Lemmy RIP….@myMotorhead my condolences to his family..
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) December 29, 2015
Josh Homme has also shared a lengthy tribute to Lemmy; read it below.
Actually, I'm pissed off Lem is dead. This sucks. One of the last REAL rock n roll motherfuckers has crossed over & I miss him. He was true to himself without question. He knew, there was no other pathway. A no bullshit, one of a kind, sharp tongued, hard livin', un-PC, stylish, hilarious & flat out genuine badass leader. He didn't give a fuck about yer peanut gallery, your anonymous opinion in the comment section or your fragile fucking sensibilities. Yet, he was always a caring & fascinating, kind & honest, gracious & a wise, intelligent & valuable friend. Never a bully, always a honorable rogue. You got a straight answer outta Lem, even if it was not what you wanted to hear. Because he was the genuine article. a maverick, an icon. The rest of these posers are trying to sell you water & champagne or are "building their brand"… Just Fucking snake oil salesmen. Toads. Greedy jive ass turkeys. Panderers. Hacks. Followers. Desperate for fame. Fuck fame. Fame is the toilet paper used on the ass of infamy. & infamy is dangerous & chaotic. Fuck safety. Fuck rules. Fuck insurance based suggestions. Lemme's "brand" was forged in the fires of individuality & would scar you for life. Lemmy IS rock n roll. Lemmy cared for his crew, his fans & that's it. He United punks & metalheads without being either, yet somehow embodied both. He had the respect from all scenes & sides. No one, I mean, no one else did. Or could've. You don't respect or dig Motorhead?? Then You musta ain't never heard em before or you jus don't know shit about jack. Fact. Lemmy, You will never be forgotten. I'm Proud to have had spent so many hours lost in conversation with you brotha. All My love & respect to you. See you in Valhalla. Jho