Ray Manzarek, a founding member of The Doors who was in large part responsible for the band’s indelible sound, has died.
Manzarek, 74, died Monday (May 20) at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, after struggling with bile duct cancer, according to a post on The Doors Facebook page. His wife, Dorothy, and brothers James and Rick were with him when he passed.
Manzarek and Jim Morrison founded The Doors in 1965 and would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the late 1960s. Starting with their self-titled debut, the band had seven consecutive platinum-selling albums (including one compilation) and eight Top 40 singles, including “Light My Fire,” “Hello, I Love You,” “People Are Strange,” “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm.”
Manzarek, Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore collaborated on nearly all of The Doors’ songs. Manzarek’s organ and keyboard playing was a signature feature of the band’s music, and since there was no bass player, he often played those parts on an electric piano.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” Krieger says in a statement. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade [the two have toured together since 2002]. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Watch Manzarek and The Doors performing “Light My Fire” in 1968: