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Lemmy, as known for his hard-living lifestyle as his gravelly vocals, had been battling an number of well-known health problems, which included a hematoma and an irregular heartbeat. He was recently implanted with a defibrillator to correct the latter of these difficulties.
The news was first reported by radio personality Eddie Trunk.
Sorry to report that I have confirmed Lemmy @myMotorhead has passed away just now at the age of 70. RIP to a true original icon of rock.— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) December 29, 2015
In a Facebook post released by the band shortly after initial reports, it was revealed that Lemmy "passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer." He only learned of the disease a few days ago, on December 26.
Born in Staffordshire, England in 1945 as Ian Fraser Kilmister, Lemmy was started down the path to becoming a rock god after he watched The Beatles perform. He Subsequently spent most of his 20s playing in a variety of bands like The Rainmakers and The Motown Sect, among many others, and even served as a roadie for The Jimmy Hendrix Experience.
In 1972, Lemmy joined British psychedelic space rock pioneers Hawkwind, who, next to Motorhead, was his highest profile gig. He was, however, fired three years later in 1975 when he was arrested at the U.S./Canadian border on drug possession charges, which only helped fuel his legend.
But don’t worry, spending five days in jail and getting fired wasn’t going to stop Lemmy. Shortly after he formed a band called Bastard, which ultimately changed its name to Motorhead, and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history. With a revolving door of musicians, Lemmy was the frontman, songwriter, and driving force behind Motorhead for four decades, spending much of it on the road.
A hugely popular and influential figure in hard rock and heavy metal, a number of friends, collaborators, and fans, including Ozzy Osbourne, have taken to social media to express their sadness.
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
In addition to spreading his gospel of rock and roll across the world, Lemmy also appeared in a number of movie and television projects over the years. Motorhead appeared during an opening of The Drew Carey show, Lemmy showed up in the metal-themed 1994 comedy Airheads, and he appeared cult 1990 sci-fi flick Hardware, among many other small roles. He teamed up a number of times with low-budget schlock horror factory Troma (my personal favorite is Tromeo and Juliet, where he serves as the narrator for a twisted update of Romeo and Juliet), and the documentary Lemmy debuted at the SXSW film festival in 2010.