Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead frontman, dead at 70

Motorhead frontman Lemmy has died at the age of 70, after being told he was suffering an aggressive form of cancer.

The vocalist and bassist was told he was suffering from cancer on Boxing Day, and he’s reported to have succumbed to the disease around 4pm on December 28 (Monday).

Motorhead say in a statement: “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 favourite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made its 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 Motorhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music loud. Have a drink or a few. Share stories. Celebrate the life this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. He would want exactly that.”

Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne was among the first to pay tribute, saying: ”Lost one of my best friends today. He was a warrior and a legend.”

Drummer Mike Portnoy said: “Sad that so many of us saw this coming, but never thought it would really happen. We all thought you’d live forever.”

Born Ian Fraser Willis, Lemmy began his professional career as leader of The Rockin’ Vickers in 1965. He later became a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and changed his surname to Kilmister, that of his biological father.

In 1972 he joined space-rock band Hawkwind and provided lead vocals for their biggest chart hit, Silver Machine. He was dismissed after being arrested for drug possession in Canada in 1975.

He formed Motorhead later that year, and the band became a guiding light in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement – although Lemmy always described their music as simply “rock’n’roll.” They reached their height of success from 1975 to 1984, with the classic lineup consisting of guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke and drummer Philthy ‘Animal’ Taylor, who died in November.

Lemmy had suffered ill health in recent years – but Motorhead released 22nd album Bad Magic in August.

The frontman recently said he was sick of being asked when he was going to die, but admitted life on the road was taking its toll, saying: “It’s when you get to 60 when everything starts to go pear-shaped. “Everyone thinks that becoming an older guy is easy, but you never consider it fully. It comes as quite a shock. But the thing is, I don’t want to give in to it.”