Rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who founded the band Montrose in the ’70s with Sammy Hagar, passed away on Saturday, March 3, at the age of 64. While an exact cause of death has not been announced, the guitarist did battle prostate cancer in recent years.
Ronnie played on Van Morrison’s 1971 album ‘Tupelo Honey,’ and was a member of the Edgar Winter Group before forming the band Montrose with Sammy Hagar in 1973. After two albums, 1973′s ‘Montrose’ (at left) and 1974′s ‘Paper Money,’ Hagar left the group to pursue a solo career. Hagar would later replace David Lee Roth as the frontman of Van Halen.
The band Montrose continued on without Hagar, and released three more albums. Ronnie also released nine albums as a solo artist, in addition to four discs with his other group Gamma.
A post announcing Ronnie Montrose’s passing on his 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.
Powerline gives its condolences to Ronnie’s family and friends.