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Ronnie Montrose dies at 64

Rock guitarist played with Van Morrison, Edgar Winter

Rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose died Saturday, March 3, of prostate cancer. He was 64.

A posting on Montrose’s official website Saturday noted: “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.”

Over the course of his career, Montrose played with well known artists such as Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock, Boz Scaggs and the Edgar Winter Group, playing on that band’s hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.”

He formed his own band, Montrose, in 1973 along with singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi. The band scored with its self-titled debut album that included such songs as “Rock the Nation,” “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Rock Candy.”

Montrose went solo in the all-instrumental album “Open Fire” in 1978, then went on to form another band, Gamma, which released three albums between 1980 and 1983.

Ronnie Montrose was born in San Francisco and moved to Denver with his family when he was 2.

After taking a two-year hiatus from performing when he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, he returned to performing and had a full calendar of tour dates planned throughout this year, according to his website. Montrose was also finishing production on a live DVD, set for release later this year.

“He was very excited and very passionate about being out there playing,” his wife Leighsa told the San Francisco Chronicle.

In addition to his wife, Monstrose is survived by a son, a daughter, two brothers and five grandchildren.

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