Doors Keyboardist Ray Manzarek Dead at 74

Doors Keyboardist Ray Manzarek Dead at 74

Member of iconic '60s band had been battling bile duct cancer

Ray Manzarek, whose keyboard playing was a central element to the sound of '60s rock group The Doors, has died at the age of 74, it was reported on the band's Facebook page.

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According to the band's Facebook page, Manzarek died shortly after noon on Monday at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, while surrounded by his wife Dorothy and his brothers Rick and James.

Manzarek had been battling bile duct cancer.

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Born Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr. in Chicago, Manzarek formed The Doors in 1965, after meeting fellow UCLA film student Jim Morrison, who became the group's vocalist. After their stints at UCLA, the pair had a chance meeting at Venice Beach, during which Morrison told Manzarek that he had been writing songs. The group was filled out by drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger, whom he'd met at a lecture on transcendental meditation.

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Propelled by Manzarek's distinctive organ sound and Morrison's crooned, poetic lyrics, the group would go on to have a string of hits, most notably "Light My Fire," from their 1967, self-titled debut album. Other hits, including "Love Me Two Times," "Touch Me" and  "L.A. Woman" followed, until Morrison's  1971 death. Though the surviving members would carry on briefly following Morrison's death, they never matched the success they achieved with their darkly charismatic frontman.

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Manzarek's post-Doors career included stints as an author (his memoir, "Light My Fire: My Life With the Doors," was published in 1998); record producer (he produced the first four albums by Los Angeles band X) and a solo artist.

In 2002, the keyboardist began touring again with Krieger.

"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today," Krieger said of his bandmate's passing. "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."

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Manzarek is survived by his wife, brothers, his son Pablo and daughter-in-law Sharmin, and three grandchildren. The family has asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.

In lieu of flowers, mourners are encouraged to make a memoriam donation in Ray Manzarek's name to standup2cancer.org.

  • A_Fan

    Farewell Ray, your keyboading gave the Doors a charming 60's mystical sound.