Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, died Monday in Germany after a long battle with cancer, according to a statement on the iconic band’s Facebook page. He was 74.
Manzarek formed the group — whose worldwide hits included “Light My Fire” and “L.A. Woman” — with Jim Morrison in 1965 after the two met by chance in Venice Beach, California.
He died surrounded by his wife Dorothy and brothers Rick and James in a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany after “a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer,” said the statement.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” The Doors’ guitarist and long-time collaborator Robby Krieger was quoted as saying.
“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,” he added.
Manzarek was responsible for the band’s signature sound including the rolling organ on songs like “Light My Fire.” Other hits included “Break On Through to the Other Side,” “The End” and “Hello, I Love You.”
The Doors were one of the biggest acts of the 1960s, selling over 100 million albums worldwide and earning 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and five multi-Platinum albums in America alone.
Morrison died in 1971, aged 27.