Founding Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby succumbed to AIDS yesterday (June 6) after an eight-year battle with the disease. Crosby, who co-wrote many of the pop-metal band's best-known songs, was 42.

Founding Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby succumbed to AIDS yesterday (June 6) after an eight-year battle with the disease. Crosby, who co-wrote many of the pop-metal band's best-known songs, was 42.

Crosby first announced his illness during a July 2001 radio interview with Internet station KNAC, confessing that he had full-blown AIDS and that he'd been in the hospital for eight straight months after complications from back surgery. At the time, the guitarist acknowledged that he had contracted the disease through heroin use and after numerous hospitalizations over a seven-year span, felt he didn't have long to live.

"Robbin was a sweet soul, great talent and he will be missed. Rest in peace," wrote former Ratt vocalist and co-founder Stephen Pearcy in a post on his official Web site. On Ratt's official Web site, the surviving members wrote, "Our dear friend Robbin Crosby passed away this morning. His family and close friends are asking for your respect, prayers, and appreciation."

Crosby and Pearcy founded Ratt in 1983, eventually adding guitarist Warren DeMartini, bassist Juan Croucier, and drummer Bobby Blotzer. The band's self-titled, independent debut was released the same year, and yielded Ratt a recording deal with Atlantic. The 1984 album, "Out of the Cellar," broke through commercially, reaching No. 7 on The Billboard 200 on the strength of the No. 12 Hot 100 hit "Round and Round."

By 1985's "Invasion of Your Privacy," the group had become an arena headliner and sustained that success through 1986's "Dancin' Undercover" and 1988's "Reach for the Sky," all of which were platinum-sellers. After 1990's "Detonator" album failed to achieve the success of its predecessors amid the ascent of alternative rock, the band decided to split in 1992.

Ratt reunited without Crosby in 1997 to release "Collage" and followed it in 1999 with a second self-titled record, but Pearcy exited shortly thereafter. In 2001, Blotzer and DeMartini hit the road with new members Jizzy Pearl (ex-Love/Hate) on vocals, John Corabi (ex-Motley Crue) on guitar, and bassist Robbie Crane. That same line-up will play this summer's Rock Fest tour with '80s glam-metal giants Warrant, L.A. Guns, Firehouse, and Dokken, beginning June 20 in Fargo, N.D.

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