Lemmy Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015),
was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead. His music was one of the foundations of the heavy metal genre. He was known for his appearance (including his friendly mutton chops), his distinctive gravelly voice and distinctive bass playing style. Alongside his music career, he also had many minor roles in film and television.
Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent and grew up in North Wales. He was influenced by rock and roll and the early Beatles, which led to him playing in several rock groups in the 1960s, including the Rockin' Vickers. He worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and the Nice, before joining the space rock band Hawkwind in 1971, singing lead on their hit "Silver Machine". After being fired from Hawkwind, he founded Motörhead as lead singer, bassist, songwriter and frontman. Motörhead's success peaked in 1980 and 1981 and included the hit single "Ace of Spades" and the top charting live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. Lemmy continued to record and tour regularly with Motörhead until his death in December 2015 in Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1990.
Aside from his musical activities, Lemmy was well known for his hard-living lifestyle and regular consumption of alcohol and amphetamines.
Since 1990 Lemmy had lived in Los Angeles, California, most recently in a two-room apartment two blocks away from his favourite hangout, the Rainbow Bar and Grill.
On 28 December 2015, four days after his 70th birthday, Lemmy died at his home in Los Angeles at 16:00 PST, from an "extremely aggressive cancer". Motörhead announced his death on their official Facebook page later that day. According to the band, his cancer had only been diagnosed two days prior to his death. His manager, Todd Singerman, later revealed:
Following the terminal diagnosis, Rainbow Bar owner Mikael Maglieri brought a video game machine that Lemmy was fond of playing at the establishment over to his apartment so he could continue playing it from his bedside.
Lemmy's memorial service took place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood on 9 January 2016.
The service was streamed live over YouTube with more than 230,000 people logging on to watch, while others gathered at the Rainbow.
"Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good."