Metal Icon & Motorhead Frontman Lemmy Dead At 70

Word is emerging this morning that Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, the legendary frontman of iconic and wildly influential rock/metal outfit Motörhead has sadly passed away. He was 70.

Lemmy’s close friend and contemporary, Ozzy Osbourne, tweeted the shockingly sad news a short few moments ago.

Lemmy had been suffering ill health for a number of months, which caused him to postpone a number of planned Motörhead shows across Europe. The band released their 22nd studio album Bad Magic back in August.

The band confirmed on their Facebook page that Lemmy had succumbed to a “very aggressive” cancer that he was diagnosed with just two days ago.

There is no easy way to say this…our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely…

Posted by Official Motörhead on Monday, 28 December 2015

Lemmy formed Motörhead in 1975, after he was fired from English space-rock outfit Hawkwind for, in his own words, “doing the wrong drugs.”
The ensuing formation of Motörhead resulted in a band that was fast, brash and prided themselves on being louder than everything else. Lemmy himself stated that the aim of the band was to be “so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die.”
Lemmy, and the band, embarked on an uninterrupted 40-year career that influenced an entire generation of metal fans and musicians alike. The band took traditional rock and roll principles and supercharged them – playing fast, playing rough, and playing loud.
Their largest success came with the release of the 1980 album Ace of Spades, their enduring magnum opus, and one of the all-time greatest rock albums ever recorded.
Known for his sense of swagger, as well as signature Rickenbacker bass guitar, Shure SM57 microphone set in a trademark above-head-height mic stand, and gravelly voice, Lemmy was an icon of the genre – and of music in general.
On a personal note, Lemmy has been one of this particular writer’s heroes for as long as his ears have been able to handle music that loud.
I’ll forever be grateful for having seen the band perform back in 2005 in Sydney – even if their set got cut short to accommodate headline act Motley Crue‘s subsequently tedious and wildly misogynistic 3-hour set. It was a brave stagehand who ambled on stage to cut Lemmy off that night. But in true, blasé fashion, Lemmy simply shrugged, took a swig from a bottle of Jack Daniels, and said “Well, apparently it’s that time of night again,” before he launched into the unmistakable bass riff from Ace of Spades. That alone was worth every cent.
One of the verses from that song – You know I’m born to lose/’cause gambling’s for fools/but that’s the way I like it/baby, I don’t wanna live forever – now rings painfully true for a man who always seemed like he would.
But that was Lemmy for you. Brash. Loud. Larger than life. He might have been born to lose. But he damned sure lived to win.
They were Motörhead. They played rock n’roll.
RIP, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister.
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images.