Rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose died Saturday at the age of 64 after a battle with prostate cancer. Montrose had been in declining health for some time, according to his booking agent, Jim Douglas. In addition to his illness, Douglas said Montrose had also suffered a long fight against his own “personal demons.”
“He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough,” a statement on RonnieMontrose.com reads. “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.”
Ronnie Montrose caught his break in the music business when he was brought in to play on Van Morrison‘s 1971 album “Tupelo Honey.” During his career, he played with a slew of heavy hitting rock icons and enjoyed his own successful solo career. Montrose also formed his own, self-titled band, which introduced rock music fans to the vocal prowess of future Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar.
“A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday,” the rock guitarist’s family said in the statement posted to his website. “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.”