Ronnie Montrose Dead At 64

Ronnie Montrose, the legendary guitarist who co-founded the namesake band with Sammy Hagar, has died, according to his official website.

He was known to have been battling cancer for several years.

“A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday,” the March 3 posting says. “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.”

Before forming Montrose in 1973, he performed with the Edgar Winter Group and played on several landmark albums, with Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” and “St. Domenic’s Preview”counted among some of his earliest session work.