Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister passed away Monday (Dec. 28) after a short battle with cancer. The hard rock icon was 70 years old. Despite recent health issues affecting the band’s 2015 tour dates, Kilmister soldiered on, performing shows almost until the end. According to the band’s Facebook, Kilmister only learned of his aggressive cancer on Dec. 26.
With the news of his unexpected death going wide, friends and fellow rockers are paying homage to one of the most distinctive voices in metal.
“Lemmy was the finest of gentlemen. Back in 1979 when I was 16 years old, I heard Overkill for the first time. I thought it was the fastest thing I’d ever heard, and I declared to all my friends that Motörhead were the fastest band in the land.
“When I had first seen pictures of what these guys looked like, I noticed a certain authenticity about them: I imagined they lived the way they looked and looked the way they lived. And I remember very distinctly having a realization that moment — I realized that it was okay to be an outsider, and that it was okay to not feel like I had to conform to anything that I objected to in my teenage life, because clearly the Motörhead guys in this picture looked like they didn’t conform to anything at all. And boy, it sure looked and sounded like they were enjoying themselves as a result.
“So I got a lot from that pic, and that massive sound, and that attitude. And I have to thank Lemmy, Fast Eddie [Clarke, guitarist 1976-83] and also the recently departed Philthy Animal [Phil Taylor, drummer, 1976-84, 1987-92] for the inspiration, spark and fire that I felt so strongly from that night in 1979. That inspiration will always be with me, and may the music of Motörhead live on!” — Kirk Hammett, Metallica
“Lemmy was loved and respected all over the world by fans and bands alike. He was as real as Rock and Roll and brought joy to millions. His was a life lived hard and lived well. And loud!” — Henry Rollins
Lemmy, you are one of the primary reasons this band exists. We’re forever grateful for all of your inspiration. RIP pic.twitter.com/WC1csn5F5x
— Metallica (@Metallica) December 29, 2015
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) December 29, 2015
Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today. He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side.
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) December 29, 2015
— Dave Navarro (@DaveNavarro) December 29, 2015
Farewell Lemmy. I love you brother.
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) December 29, 2015
So many artists contacting me about Lem. When I’m back on live 1/4 I’m sure I’ll have a big roster of people call in to celebrate him.
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) December 29, 2015
only artist in 13 years of TV that insisted on a call time not before 3P,bottle of JD in dressing room, & showed up with strippers. Awesome!
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) December 29, 2015
— ?red d?r?? (@freddurst) December 29, 2015
Rest in peace Lemmy
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) December 29, 2015
Rip Lemmy —-
— The Squadfather (@diplo) December 29, 2015
Oh my. Lemmy got let in on the big secret. One of the greatest rockers of all time. Amazingly unique incredible bass player. My hero. Wow.
— Flea (@flea333) December 29, 2015
Oh man Lemmy had a huge footprint. Affected everyone into loud music.
— Matt Pincus – SONGS (@mpinc) December 29, 2015
Just got the sad news about the loss of Lemmy from MOTORHEAD….. RIP “Raise Hell Homie…”
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) December 29, 2015
RIP #Lemmy :((
— Belinda Carlisle (@belindaofficial) December 29, 2015
— John Rich (@johnrich) December 29, 2015
Nobody worked as hard, rocked as hard, was as funny & humble as LEMMY Kilmister so if you don’t mind I’m going to live in denial. #Motorhead
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) December 29, 2015
— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) December 29, 2015
Lemmy: Rest In Peace, my friend. pic.twitter.com/2M6VPiBGyE
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) December 29, 2015
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) December 29, 2015
Very sad to hear of Lemmy’s passing. We’ve lost a true, true legend. RIP pic.twitter.com/vVVckaeZXM
— Geezer Butler (@GZRMusic) December 29, 2015
RIP Lemmy. pic.twitter.com/zubPd2N0uM
— Philip H. Anselmo (@philiphanselmo) December 29, 2015
It is a sad day. We have lost Lemmy, a legend of legends. With the highest respect, Rest in Peace my friend. King pic.twitter.com/MGlh5gPU4P
— King Diamond (@RealKingDiamond) December 29, 2015
Lemmy, RIP – so sorry you’re gone. I stand with the countless souls who will miss you, and who love you very much. – Bill. @myMotorhead
— Bill Ward (@billwarddrums) December 29, 2015
“Grammy winner Lemmy Kilmister was a remarkable frontman and bona fide heavy metal icon. A founding member of the legendary group Motörhead, Lemmy’s raw, powerful vocals, paired with his innovative bass playing and songwriting skills, made him one of the most prominent figures in rock and roll. His magnetic stage presence and willingness to break barriers propelled the metal genre to new heights, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process. We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community and our sincerest condolences go out to Lemmy’s family, friends, collaborators and all who have been impacted by his work.” — Neil Portnow (President/CEO, The Recording Academy)
“My dear friend Lemmy was and always be a rock icon. His music will live forever. Lemmy was loved by all musicians and rockers and he now will rock out in heaven with his friend Jack Daniels. We will all miss him and never forget his legacy.” — Jerry Greenberg (music executive, former Atlantic Records president)