A coroner has ruled that guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who rose to fame playing alongside the likes of Van Morrison and Herbie Hancock, had committed suicide by gunshot wound.
It was previously reported that he died on March 3 of prostate cancer, which he had battled for two years. He was 64-years-old, and suffered from clinical depression throughout his life.
Ronnie was best known for his 1970s band Montrose
, named after himself, which helped launch the career of Sammy Hagar
. Later, Hagar joined Van Halen
but continued to perform Montrose songs live.
A statement left by Ronnie's family after his death hinted at the true circumstances of his death:
"He'd battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we're glad to have shared with him while we could."
Now the coroner's report has been revealed, the statement has been replaced:
"By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie’s death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible.
"He loved being a guitarist, a composer, a producer, and a creator of magic. He fully understood his gifts, and yet he constantly pushed himself to evolve, improve, and make better music."
His wife Leighsa Montrose said he did not leave a suicide note, but the BBC report that he sent this final text message shortly before his death:
"I'm so sorry. Still have the gun in my hand. I'm going on that voyage. I love you beyond measure."
Ultimate Guitar would like to extend its best wishes to the family and friends of Ronnie Montrose.