Keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who co-founded the Doors in 1965, died Monday (May 20) at age 74.
According to the band’s Facebook page, the keyboardist succumbed to bile duct cancer after a lengthy fight against the disease.
Manzarek, who was portrayed in Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “The Doors” by Kyle MacLachlan, was instrumental in forming the iconic group, collaborating with frontman Jim Morrison to transform the landscape of rock and roll at a time of enormous social and cultural upheaval. The surviving members of the band reacted with mixed feelings about Stone’s film, but Manzarek asserted that the 2010 documentary “When You’re Strange” offered a more accurate and balanced portrait of the Doors and was reflective of the group’s contributions, not just those of Morrison.
Manzarek was instrumental in helping bring to life many of the band’s signature songs, including “Light My Fire,” “Break on Through,” “The End,” “L.A. Woman,” and “Hello, I Love You.” At the time of his death, Manzarek was with his brothers Rick and James and his wife, Dorothy.
Manzarek released several solo albums after Morrison’s death in 1971, and he started a group with fellow bandmate Robby Krieger in 2002 that was committed to playing the music of the Doors.
Krieger, with whom he maintained a close collaboration, released a statement Monday, saying, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek. 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 Doors’ musical legacy continues to this day, with Skrillex’s 2012 track “Breakin’ a Sweat” featuring organ and vocals from Manzarek, as well as a spoken-word Morrison sample and contributions from the other bandmembers.