Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead's fearless leader, mourned by music fans

The world has heard its last "We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n' roll."

Bassist and voice of seminal rock band Motörhead died Dec. 28 days after cancer diagnosis

Lemmy Kilmister, seen here performing in London in 2008, formed Motörhead in 1975. The band celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015 with a tour and musical cruise. (Neil Lupin/Redferns/Getty Images)

The world has heard its last "We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n' roll."

It was the infamous tagline Ian (Lemmy) Kilmister — or just Lemmy to his millions of fans — rasped before every live performance.

The hard-living founder, singer and bassist of the British heavy rock band Motörhead — which earlier this year celebrated its 40th anniversary with a tour and Motörboat music cruise — died on Dec. 28, days after a cancer diagnosis.

He was 70. 

The remaining band members confirmed on Tuesday that Motörhead would not continue without Lemmy, telling a Swedish newspaper that "Lemmy was Motörhead."

The world learned of his death around 8 p.m. ET on Monday, and the band quickly confirmed the news on its official Facebook page.

The outpouring of condolences, vintage Lemmy photos, YouTube videos and Motörhead-related memories from fans, friends and bands was swift and voluminous.


A musical legacy.

Lemmy formed Motörhead after being expelled from his previous psych/prog-rock band Hawkwind for using too much speed, an amphetamine Lemmy was fond of. He formed Motörhead in 1975, naming his new band after the last song he'd written for Hawkwind (Motörhead is also slang for "speed freak").

Lemmy's musical prowess was inspirational to generations of musicians, with hundreds of punk, rock and metal bands expressing their sadness over his death.

Lemmy was mourned at his favourite bar.

Lemmy's love for the Los Angeles bar the Rainbow Bar and Grill — where he for years played the same video-lottery terminal and drank Jack Daniels and Coke (he had recently switched to orange juice and vodka for his health) — was well documented. Tourists often headed to the bar to see if they could find him and snap a photo with him.

Tributes to Lemmy sprang up at his video poker machine overnight.

Rest in power, Lemmy.


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