Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band the Ramones, has died at the age of 55. He had been battling prostate cancer for a number of years. Ramone died in his sleep Wednesday afternoon at his Los Angeles home surrounded by friends and family, his publicist said. Along with his wife, Linda Cummings, Ramone was surrounded at his death by Eddie Vedder and Rob and Sherrie Zombie. Other friends who gathered at his Los Angeles home included Lisa Marie Presley, Pete Yorn, Vincent Gallo and Talia Shire.
Born John Cummings , he was one of the original members of the Ramones whose three-chord, two minute perfections influenced a generation of future bands. Where would music be without Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy rising from the streets of Forrest Hills, Queens back in 1976? It was their show in London, July 4, 1976, that launched punk in the UK with members of the Clash and Sex Pistols at the show. A testament to their legacy and 2,263 live shows, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
A statement taken from an email sent by longtime Ramones friend Arturo Vega:
"Our dear friend Johnny has died, May he rest in peace. Johnny past away this afternoon at 3:03 pm. In his home in Los Angeles California.We are immensely saddened by this terrible loss. Johnny contributed in many ways to the success and greatness of the Ramones, but it was his strength and guidance, which made everybody else's work come to an effective completion, that made him the group's center of gravity providing the balance and stability that kept the band, it's support crew and the entire Ramones organization together and in rocking shape. Johnny's strength came from his character, rich in decency and honesty, his sense of fairness, and his strategy always pointed towards the benefit of the Ramones and their fans as an inseparable unit.
In this moment of tragedy and darkness let us find solace and a cure to our pain in the knowledge that Johnny accomplished to the limit his life's aspirations and in the process he made ours seem possible."
Johnny was pre-deceased by lead singer Joey Ramone who died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer and bassist Dee Dee Ramone who died from a drug overdose in 2002.
In tribute news, Fungus 53, XM Satellite Radio's fulltime punk rock radio station, pays tribute to the late Johnny Ramone with a full day of music.