Tommy Ramone, the last surviving member of The Ramones' original lineup, passed away on Friday at the age of 65. The drummer died in Ridgewood, Queens where he had been in hospice care and was suffering from cancer of the bile duct, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The news was announced via The Ramones' website and Twitter feed where a brief post stated: "We are saddened to announce the passing of Tommy Ramone (nee Erdelyi), the original drummer for the Ramones, earlier today, 11 July 2014," along with the photo seen at right.
Ramone was born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child. He formed The Ramones with singer Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone) and bassist Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone). He recorded on the 1976 debut album The Ramones, 1977's Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, and also co-produced 1978's Road to Ruin and the live album, It's Alive, in 1979. After stepping down as the drummer, Tommy started a career as a producer and worked on The Ramones' 1984 album Too Tough to Die and The Replacements' 1985 album, Tim. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Ramones in 2002.
Fellow New York band and CBGB alums Blondie posted a message on Twitter that reads, "Chris Stein remembers Tommy Ramone: 'He was a lovely gentle guy, super smart. The last of the original Ramones.' RIP, Tommy." Other artists reacted as well, including Andrew W.K., who tweeted: "Just found out that Tommy Ramone died today. One of the most ground breaking drummers and producers ever. And always nice." Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer ChadSmith wrote: "We've lost one of the greats. R.I.P Tommy Ramone," and Butch Walker weighed in: "The Ramones made me wanna dress like I wasn't supposed to play catchy music, but did anyway. Punk is finally dead.. RIP Tommy Ramone."