Ray Manzarek, a founding Member of The Doors, has died at age 74.
The keyboardist, born Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr., succumbed this afternoon (Monday) at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, where he was being treated for bile duct cancer. He was surrounded by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy Manzarek, and his brothers Rick and James Manczarek (the original spelling of the family name).
Just last week, Doors guitarist Robby Krieger told us Ray was sick, but was hoping to play a show they had scheduled in Los Angeles in August. He has issued a statement saying, "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 have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life, and I will always miss him."
In addition to his wife and brothers, he is survived by his son Pablo, his daughter-in-law Sharmin and their three children. Funeral arrangements are pending. The family
asks that its privacy be respected at this time. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Ray's name to Stand Up 2 Cancer at StandUp2Cancer.org.
The Chicago-born Manzarek moved to Los Angeles to study film in 1962. He formed the The Doors in 1965 with singer-poet Jim Morrison, drummer John Densmore and Krieger shortly after finishing UCLA film school, and dropped the "c" from his last name to make it "Manzarek." A chance encounter on Venice Beach with Morrison, who was also studying film at UCLA and had written some lyrics, led them to put the band together.
Although their first record deal, with Columbia, fell apart, they soon signed to Elektra Records and recorded their self-titled album. While their first single, "Break on Through," wasn't a hit, their second, an edit of "Light My Fire," that omitted Manzarek's lengthy John Coltrane-inspired organ solo, was -- topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. "Break on Through" eventually went on to become one of the group's signature songs, too, though Manzarek said people who thought it was about death had misunderstood it.