Lemmy Kilmister, hard rock icon, dies at 70

By Shawn Price  |  Dec. 29, 2015 at 5:00 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Lemmy Kilmister, hard rock icon and longtime singer and bassist for the band Motorhead, died Monday. He was 70.

Kilmister had been slowed by heart disease and diabetes in recent years before being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on Saturday. His death was confirmed on the band's Facebook page.

"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," the band said in the statement. Kilmister died "at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game."

The band urged fans to "play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy's music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT."

Ian Fraser Kilmister was born Dec. 24, 1945 in Staffordshire, England to a librarian mom and Royal Air Force dad. He saw the Beatles at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when he was 18 and was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix for six years and present at the making of Hendrix's classic Axis: Bold as Love album.

After leaving the psychedelic rock band Hawkwind in the mid-1970s, he started his own band, named after the last song he wrote for his previous employer, Motorhead. His voice was gravelly and the songs were fast, loud and aggressive, allowing the band -- particularly Kilmister -- to be respected by many in the burgeoning punk scene of the late 1970s as well as the heavy metal scene of the 1980s with hits like "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill." The band eventually churned out 22 albums with a trio that consisted of Kilmister and a changing lineup of two others.

Famous for hard living and preferring a solitary life, mostly on the road, he lived in Los Angeles since 1990, down the street from his favorite bar, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. The bar is a famous haunt of many local hell-raising musicians.

Kilmister was also famous for his look: mutton chops, large black hat and all-black clothing.

"I'm old, you know," he told Rolling Stone in June of 2014. "In two years I'm 70, which is ridiculous. How did that happen to me?"

"I've still got a few bugs in me," he laughed about the financial and critical success of his band's next-to-last album Aftershock. "Don't look forward to my demise just yet."

Topics: Jimi Hendrix
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