DENVER, March 4 (UPI) -- Colorado guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who played with an A-list of musicians when not fronting his own band, has died at the age of 64, his Web site said.
He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 and died Saturday, rollingstone.com reported. It is unclear where.
"A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose's 64th birthday," a statement said on Montrose's official Web site. "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."
Montrose was born in Denver Nov. 29, 1947 and at 24-years-old was invited to play guitar on Van Morrison's 1971 own breakout album, "Tupelo Honey." He went on to work with jazz great Herbie Hancock as well as Boz Scaggs, The Neville Brothers and Edgar and Johnny Winter. Montrose also worked with Sammy Hagar in his own eponymous group before Hagar left for a solo career.
Many rockers agree Ronny Montrose was a game-changer for rock 'n' roll as evidenced by reactions expressed in their tweets, loudwire.com said.
"'Montrose' is one of the all time great R&R albums. Major influence. RIP man," said Slash of Guns 'n' Roses.
"Ronnie Montrose's first two 'Montrose' albums & his work with Edger (sic) Winter changed my musical life forever. RIP," tweeted Nikki Sixx.
"Saddened to hear the passing of friend Ronnie Montrose. He was a wonderful person & an amazing guitar player, I will miss you dear Ronnie," Peter Frampton tweeted.