Ray Manzarek, founding member and keyboardist of The Doors, passed away yesterday (20 May) at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany following a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer. According to a statement released on The Doors official Facebook page he was surrounded by his wife Dorothy Manzarek and brothers Rick and James. He was 74 years old.
Following a chance encounter with Jim Morrison on Venice Beach, Manzarek formed the rock band, The Doors in 1965. The band then went on to become one of the most iconic bands of the 1960s. While controversy always followed them, they managed to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide spinning out hits such as “L.A. Woman”, “Break On Through To The Other Side” and “Light My Fire”. Over their career they received 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and five multi-Platinum albums in the US alone.
The band broke up after Morrison’s death in 1971. Manzarek then struck out on his own becoming a best-selling author (The Poet in Exile, Snake Moon, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors) and Grammy-nominated artist. In 2002, he reunited with fellow Doors member and collaborator, guitarist Robby Krieger.
Speaking about Manzarek’s death, Krieger said, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I’m just glad to have been able to play Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him”.
In tribute to the keyboardist, Whisky A Go Go, The Roxy, The Viper Room and The House of Blues along LA’s the Sunset Strip all dimmed their lights at 9:31pm PDT.
Manzarek is survived by his wife, Dorothy, brothers Rick and James, son Pablo, Pablo’s wife Sharmin and their three children Noah, Apollo and Camille.
The family has requested that if fans want to do something to celebrate Manzarek’s life please make a memoriam donation in his name at www.standup2cancer.org.