Keyboardist Ray Manzarek, best known as a co-founder of the Doors and for his unforgettable riff on "Light My Fire," died Monday in Germany. Manzarek was 74.
A publicist for the Doors announced Manzarek’s death on the band’s Facebook page, stating that he succumbed to a years-long battle with bile duct cancer. He was in the company of his wife Dorothy and his brothers Rick and James when he died at 3:31 p.m. EDT in Rosenheim.
"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today," Robby Krieger, founding guitarist of the Doors, said in the statement. "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 1965, Manzarek formed the Doors with singer Jim Morrison after running into the fellow UCLA film school student at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The two began working on songs and recruited Krieger and drummer John Densmore. Naming themselves after Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception,” the four released their first record, “The Doors,” in 1967.
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The group quickly became one of the most popular and enigmatic groups of the 1960s rock scene, and before Jim Morrison died in 1971, Manzarek and the Doors recorded seven albums that have since sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone. Following Morrison’s death, Manzarek began touring alongside Krieger as Manzarek-Krieger, performing Doors songs across the world.
Manzarek is survived by his wife Dorothy, brothers Rick and James, son Pablo, Pablo's wife Sharmin and their three children Noah, Apollo and Camille. Manzarek’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, mourners make a donation in Manzarek’s name to Stand Up 2 Cancer.