In Memoriam: Ray Manzarek of The Doors (1939 – 2013)
TO BILE DUCT CANCER AT AGE 74
We’re sad to report that founding member of The Doors Ray Manzarek passed away this afternoon after battling bile duct cancer. Manzarek was one of the more influential keyboardists in rock history, who not only handled keys in his role with The Doors but also played bass parts on electric piano. Ray formed the band with guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore and vocalist Jim Morrison in 1965 and The Doors went on to become rock legends with the release of six incredible and top-selling albums between 1966 and Morrison’s death in 1971.
Manzarek’s huge impact on The Doors music could be heard immediately on the group’s breakthrough single “Light My Fire” and his vamps fueled such iconic songs as “The End,” “Break On Through” and “Touch Me.” The Doors tried to go on without Morrison, but quickly realized it just wasn’t the same and called it quits in 1973. Breaking up didn’t diminish the The Doors’ legend as the group went on to sell millions of records and were the subject of 1991 Oliver Stone movie.
Ray went on to tour with Krieger and singer Ian Astbury under the name “The Doors of the 21st Century” in the early ’00s. Krieger had this to say about his longtime friend and bandmate in a statement, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today, 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 keyboardist’s family, including wife Dorothy and son Pablo, have requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Manzarek’s name to standup2cancer.org. Ray Manzarek was 74 years old.
Watch The Doors perform “People Are Strange” and “Light My Fire” on the Ed Sullivan Show: