Lemmy Kilmister, the legendary lead-singer and bassist of the widely regarded heavy metal group, Motorhead, passed away yesterday after “a short battle with an extremely aggressive (form of) cancer.” Kilmister had just turned 70 on Christmas Eve.
The band confirmed Kilmister’s passing on their official Facebook page: “We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD,” the emotional statement read. “Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.”
The first to issue a report on Kilmister’s passing was radio personality, Eddie Trunket: “Sorry to report that I have confirmed Lemmy has passed away just now at the age of 70. RIP to a true original icon of rock.”
Fans and fellow heavyweights in the heavy metal genre flooded social media to express their sadness and give their condolences.
“Lemmy has passed away. Truly one of a kind. Much more to him than many knew. RIP,” wrote Paul Stanley of KISS.
“Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today,” friend and collaborator, Ozzy Osbourne, stated in a tweet. “He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side.” Kilmister had acted as a co-writer on Osbourne’s 1991 album, No More Tears, which includes the massively popular “Mama I’m Coming Home.”
Kilmister had been suffering from multiple health ailments in recent years. Most recently, he had a lung infection that led to the cancellation of several shows while on tour this summer, and in the past two years he was fitted for a pacemaker and battled with hematoma.
Lemmy Kilmister was born Ian Kilmister on December 24, 1945 in Staffordshire, England. His nickname came from his habit of asking loved ones, “lemmy a fiver.”
He was inspired to become a musician after watching the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Kilmister had only been 16 at the time, and began to teach himself guitar shortly after. He then got his official “start” in the business working as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967.
The dedicated rock star recorded 22 studio albums with Motorhead, including the U.K. chart-topper No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (a live album) in 1981. Other notable works by Motorhead include Overkill, Bomber, and Ace of Spades. Kilmister and Motorhead received their first Grammy (“Best Metal Performance”) with their cover of Metallica’s “Whiplash” in 2005.
Kilmister’s passing comes in lieu of that of Phil Taylor, former Motorhead drummer, who died at 61.