Ray Manzarek, most known as a founding member of the '60s rock band The Doors, is dead. According to a message posted on the band's Facebook page, Manzarek died of bile duct cancer while in Rosenheim, Germany, on May 20. He was 74. Wife Dorothy Manzarek and brothers Rick and James were by his side.
An excerpt from the Facebook announcement is below:
"Manzarek is best known for his work with The Doors who formed in 1965 when Manzarek had a chance encounter on Venice Beach with poet Jim Morrison. The Doors went on to become one of the most controversial rock acts of the 1960s, selling more than 100-million albums worldwide … After Morrison's death in 1971, Manzarek went on to become a best-selling author, and a Grammy-nominated recording artist in his own right. In 2002, he revitalized his touring career with Doors' guitarist and long-time collaborator, Robby Krieger."
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger also confirmed the news in the Facebook message, releasing this statement: "I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek. 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."
The Chicago-born Manzarek met Morrison while studying film at UCLA. The two went on to create one of the most iconic bands of the '60s, described by Rolling Stone as possessing "eerie, powerful, almost shamanistic invocations." The band's name comes from the drug-trip book by Aldous Huxley, "The Doors of Perception."
After Morrison's death at age 27 in 1971, Manzarek released several more albums, including a collaboration with composer Philip Glass and two solo albums.