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Rock Icon Lemmy Of Motörhead Dies At Age 70

Lemmy Kilmister plays with Motörhead in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.
Gaye Gerard
Getty Images
Lemmy Kilmister plays with Motörhead in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.

English rock musician Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister of Motörhead died Monday of cancer at age 70. He was the frontman for the group, which he founded in 1975.

Lemmy found out he had cancer just two days ago.

Motörhead released the following statement on its official 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, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy's music LOUD.
Have a drink or few.

"Share stories.

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


"Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister

"1945 -2015

"Born to lose, lived to win."

Lemmy weathered other health issues in recent years, including diabetes, a hematoma and surgery to implant a defibrillator in his chest to regulate his heartbeat. His life as a hard-living, heavy-drinking rocker, however, mostly persisted without interruption.

A profile of Lemmy was published in The Guardian this summer. Here's an excerpt:

"Lemmy is as much a collection of myths and legends as a man. In the popular imagination, he's made up of equal parts Jack Daniel's, amphetamine sulphate, Nazi memorabilia and extreme-velocity noise. The myths and legends cloak him as surely as the black shirt, the black jeans, the custom-made boots, the cowboy hat with its 'Death or Glory' insignia and the Iron Cross around his neck. ...

"While the all-black uniform is present and correct this afternoon, Lemmy has lost a lot of weight, and appears pale and drawn. His hands aren't wholly steady, and he says that these days he has to walk with a stick. [...] Nevertheless, he insists: 'Apparently I am still indestructible.' "

In an NPR story about aging rockers facing their own mortality from earlier this year, Lemmy, still dismissive of death, did share a brief observation about his life.

"It's not like a charmed life, [yet] it's certainly a very lucky one."

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