The heavy-metal world is in mourning tonight as one of its most beloved figures has passed away.
Lemmy Kilmister, singer-bassist and principal songwriter for legendary metal act Motörhead, died at his home in L.A. today, just days after being diagnosed with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had turned 70 on Christmas Eve.
The news came in a statement posted 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. 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. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud.”
Over the last few hours tributes have been pouring in from the biggest names in hard rock, including tweets from Gene Simmons of KISS, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, and Ozzy Osbourne, who called Kilmister "a warrior and a legend".
Kilmister is also noted for his time spent in the British prog-rock band Hawkwind, but he'll mostly be remembered as the driving force behind such headspinningly heavy Motörhead classics as "Killed By Death", "Overkill", "Iron Fist", and especially "Ace of Spades".
Besides a no-holds-barred approach to music, Kilmister also took a no-bull approach to life, one that often manifested itself in interviews. Back in 1999 when I interviewed Lemmy in advance of a show at Vancouver's NewMusicWest '99 I casually asked him what he liked to do in his spare time.
"I like to fuck women, mostly," he replied without a moment's hesitation.
And when I asked him what the secret was to staying alive in the world of heavy metal for so many years, he had a simple answer to that as well.
(Heaven just got a helluva lot louder.)