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Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead dies at 70

Lemmy Kilmister performs with Motörhead at Glastonbury in June. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Lemmy Kilmister, the frontman and only constant member of Motörhead, has died at age 70. The band have just shared this news via Facebook:

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 it’s way down the street, with his family.

We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words.

With Motörhead, Kilmister — born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Staffordshire, England — was a leading light of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which won scores of fans among the disaffected British working class — and ultimately, around the world — as punk subsided in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Inspired by the Beatles and a former roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Kilmister was a bridge between the classic rock of the 1960s and the metal and alternative rock that became wildly popular in the 1970s onwards — many of whose best-known musicians acknowledged a debt to Motörhead.

Combining the thunder of heavy metal with the style and attitude of punk, Motörhead became an iconic rock band that fans embraced for their defiant attitude, high-energy live shows, and indelible songs.

Kilmister in particular became one of rock’s most recognizable figures, bearded and long-haired with a retro biker-influenced wardrobe and innumerable stories about his raucous life — most of them true.

In addition to his work as vocalist, bassist, and principal songwriter in Motörhead, Kilmister collaborated in numerous other musical projects and appeared in many films and TV shows, often in memorable cameo roles. A feature-length documentary about Kilmister, Lemmy, was released in 2010.

With 20 studio albums, Motörhead have sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

The band’s post on Facebook concludes,

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.

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Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.


Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister

1945 -2015

Born to lose, lived to win.