The Doors‘ co-founder and keyboardist Ray Manzarek died on Monday, May 20th in Rosenheim, Germany at the RoMed Clinic following a long battle with with bile duct cancer. He was 74. Manzarek was surrounded by his wife Dorothy and his brothers Rick and James Manczarek. Manzarek is survived by Dorothy, their son Pablo, his wife Sharmin, and their three children Noah, Apollo, and Camille. Funeral arrangements are pending. An official statement posted on TheDoors.com stated: “The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, please make a memoriam donation in Ray Manzarek’s name at www.standup2cancer.org.”
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said 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.”
Doors drummer John Densmore said in a statement: “There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words. Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”
Ray Manzarek was born Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr. on February 12th, 1939 on the South Side of Chicago and was of Polish decent. In 1962 he moved to Southern California to study at the Department of Cinematography at UCLA, where he first met fellow student and future partner Jim Morrison, along with his wife of 45 years, Dorothy Fujikawa. Together with Morrison, Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore, the quartet formed the Doors in 1965 and between 1967 and 1971 released six studio albums — The Doors (1967); Strange Days (1967); Waiting For The Sun (1968); The Soft Parade (1969); Morrison Hotel (1970); and L.A. Woman (1971) — before Jim Morrison’s death on July 3rd, 1971 in Paris.