Keyboardist who founded The Doors dies of cancer at 74
Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and founding member of The Doors who had a dramatic impact on rock 'n' roll, has died. He was 74.
Manzarek, who suffered from bile duct cancer, passed away Monday in the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family, said publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald.
Manzarek founded The Doors after meeting then-poet Jim Morrison in California. The band went on to become one of the most successful rock 'n' roll acts to emerge from the 1960s and continues to resonate with fans decades after Morrison's death brought an effective end to the band.
The Chicago native continued to remain active in music after Morrison's 1971 death. He briefly tried to hold the band together by serving as vocalist, but eventually the group fell apart. He played in other bands during the years, produced other acts, became an author and worked on films.
The Doors, which included guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, have sold more than 100 million albums and their music has been re-released and repackaged multiple times over the years, been featured prominently in movies and holds an oft-debated place in rock history. Manzarek and Krieger reunited to tour as The Doors in recent years.
The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Manzarek is among the most notable keyboard players in rock history. His lead-instrument work with the band at a time when the guitar often dominated added a distinct end-times flavor that matched Morrison's often out-there imagery and persona.
The group is best known for hits like “L.A.Woman,” “Break On Through to the Other Side,” “The End” and “Light My Fire.”