Tributes paid to Motorhead's Lemmy

Stars pay tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy

Media captionThe BBC’s Nick Serpell looks back on the life of Lemmy

Music stars and celebrities have paid tribute to Motorhead frontman Lemmy, who has died at the age of 70.

Lemmy died at home in Los Angeles on Monday, two days after learning he had cancer.

He formed Motorhead in 1975 and recorded 22 albums, including the classic Ace of Spades.

The band said on its Facebook page: “Our mighty, noble friend Lemmy has passed away after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer.”

The band added: “We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren’t words.”

They urged fans to play Lemmy’s music loud and “have a drink or few”, saying: “Celebrate the life this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.

“He would want exactly that.”

Lemmy, who was the only constant member of Motorhead, had been diagnosed with cancer on Saturday – two days after his 70th birthday.

‘Warrior and legend’

Todd Singerman, Motorhead’s manager, told the BBC News channel that Lemmy had had cancer “in his brain and neck” and that his sudden death had come as “a massive shock”.

He said the singer died while sitting in front of his favourite video game with his family.

Singerman described Lemmy as “the pinnacle, he’s up there with one of his idols, Elvis”.

“He was was one of the last true rock stars left, this guy lived it every day.”

While Lemmy was known for his hard-living lifestyle and his penchant for Jack Daniels, Singerman joked that in recent years, the frontman had “switched to vodka and orange – he thought it was healthier!”

“He was one of the kindest men I ever met – he was the people’s man,” he added.

Heavy metal star Ozzy Osbourne was among those to pay tribute on social media.

He tweeted: “Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend.

Alice Cooper said: “I will see you on the other side. When we say ‘one of a kind’ in rock’n’roll, Lemmy was the epitome of that – one of the most beloved characters in rock’n’roll.

“I can’t think of anyone who didn’t adore Lemmy; you can’t say ‘heavy metal’ without mentioning Lemmy.

“Rock’n roll heaven just got heavier.”

Queen’s Brian May described Lemmy as “our utterly unique friend”.

Metallica tweeted: “Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We’re forever grateful for all of your inspiration.”

Kiss star Gene Simmons said: “Lemmy: Rest In Peace. Shake the heavens, my friend.”

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Nikki Sixx said Lemmy was “a pillar of dignity”.

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan added: “Rest In Peace Lemmy. A hell of a man who suffered no fools.

“U shall be missed brother, and, THANK u 4 the years of unwavering kick ass R&R.”

And Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello described Lemmy as “a true rock icon”.

Black Sabbath founding member Geezer Butler said: “Very sad to hear of Lemmy’s passing. We’ve lost a true, true legend. RIP.”

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer added: “RIP #Lemmy heaven is Rockin tonight.”

And the band’s Joe Perry also paid his respects on Twitter: “RIP Lemmy. A true rocker from beginning to end. We’ll all see you there, soon enough.”

Rock band Judas Priest also paid tribute: “Words about Lemmy can never be enough so we will simply say farewell Lord Lemmy, thank you for the music, the shows.”

Hawkwind’s Dave Brock tweeted: “Lemmy was a gentleman & a friend. I’ll miss our eccentric text conversations.We had that magic when we played together.His legend lives on.”

Fans also left messages on Lemmy’s Facebook page.

Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1945.

He lived in Anglesey, Wales, as a child and acquired the nickname Lemmy while at school, although he claimed to have had no idea where it came from.

‘Wonderful man’

As Lemmy of Motorhead, he became known for his fast and furious bass guitar playing and gravelly voice.

Obituary: The wild life of Lemmy

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Lemmy performed with Motorhead in Munich last month

His death comes just weeks after former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor died at the age of 61.

Ex-Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, who played with the group between 1976 and 1982, said on Facebook: “I am devastated. We did so much together, the three of us.

“The world seems a really empty place right now. I am having trouble finding the words … He will live on in our hearts. R.I.P Lemmy!”

Lemmy was credited with introducing punk sounds into the heavy metal genre – and having a wild offstage reputation.

Hendrix roadie

He first became involved in the Manchester music scene before going to London.

There he had a stint as a roadie with Jimi Hendrix and briefly played in progressive rock band Opal Butterfly.

Media captionLemmy paid a visit to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay to tell politicians their policy on heroin had failed

In 1972 he joined space-rock band Hawkwind on bass but left after being busted for drug possession on a tour of Canada in 1975.

Lemmy went on to form Motorhead – the name is US slang for someone who takes speed – and recorded 22 studio albums with the band between 1977 and 2015.

‘Hypnotic voice’

The band achieved critical acclaim with the 1980 Ace of Spades album, which reached number four in the UK chart.

They recently released Bad Magic and were set to play dates in the UK and Europe over the next few months as part of a world tour.

John Robb, a musician and editor of the Louder Than War website, told the BBC: “Lemmy’s voice and the sound of the bass guitar was exactly the same.

“It was a fantastic bluff gruffness which is so attractive, so hypnotic.

“It’s a really great sound… It’s a mistake to say it’s just a noise because he wrote really good songs.”


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