Ronnie Montrose Shot Himself
Police report confirms guitar icon Ronnie Montrose’s death was nothing to do with cancer battle – but may have been related to depression.
Report: Martin Kielty
Officials investigating the death of Ronnie Montrose have confirmed he committed suicide by shooting himself.
Now the county’s coroner’s office has released a report stating he died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was more than four times over the legal alcohol limit when he pulled the trigger.
Montrose had suffered from clinical depression for much of his life. The deaths of his uncle and dog within weeks of each other are understood to have been factors in his decision to commit suicide.
An official statement from his friends and family says: “We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this a family matter for as long as possible.
“We can only hope you you choose to celebrate Ronnie’s life, and what his music meant to you, rather than mourn his passing.
“Ronnie would have wanted it that way.
“Please keep his energy, his joy and his love in your hearts.”
The guitarist, who was 64 when he took his own life at home, was managed by his wife Lieghsa.
She says: “Ronnie had a difficult childhood which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy. He never thought he was good enough. Now I see he didn’t want to carry these burdens for very much longer.
“I knew I had married an alcoholic – but Ronnie was never anything but loving. He’d always say I got the best version of him, and we were nearly inseparable.”
Leighsa said Montrose did not leave a suicide note, but had texted her to say: “I’m so sorry. Still have the gun in my hand. I’m going on that voyage. I love you beyond measure.”
Ronald Douglas Montrose, who built a reputation as both musician and producer, was born in San Francisco in 1947. He grew up in Colorado, learning guitar, before leaving home at the age of 16 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician.
His big break came in 1971 when Van Morrison hired him to play on his album Tupelo Honey. He went on to perform with Boz Scaggs and the Edgar Winter Group, then formed Montrose with future Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar in 1973. The band released five albums with various line-ups until 1987. Montrose also released eight albums under his own name, along with four as a member of experimental outfit Gamma.
Last year he discussed the possibility of reuniting with Hagar, who now fronts Chickenfoot, saying: “We may do a reunion show for fun – and at this point in our lives it would just be for fun.”
There’s a giant feature on Ronnie Montrose in the new issue of Classic Rock, which is on sale now.
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