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Ronnie Montrose’s Death Caused By Self-Inflicted Gunshot

Ronnie Montrose
Mark Bowman

It has been confirmed that Ronnie Montrose’s death last month was not directly due to his long battle with cancer. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office reports the guitarist instead died from suicide in the form of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to family friend Michael Molenda, in a sad and touching article on GuitarPlayer.com, the Montrose family knew the findings would be made public soon. So they posted a statement on the guitarist’s website and official Facebook page, which reads in part:

“By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie’s death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible. We can only hope that you will choose to celebrate Ronnie’s life, and what his music meant to you, rather than mourn his passing. Ronnie would have wanted it that way.”

Montrose apparently suffered from clinical depression for much of his life. His wife and manager, Leighsa Montrose, explained that he “had a very difficult childhood, which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy, this is why he always drove himself so hard.”

Leighsa goes on to detail her husband’s last days on earth, which conclude with him saying good-bye to her in a series of heartbreaking text messages. To her immense credit, she seems to have found peace in his passing:

“I looked at his peaceful and calm face, and I said to him, ‘You’ve shown me I have no choice in this matter… I told him I loved him. I accepted what had happened. And then I sat calmly on the couch and called the police department.”

By her account, despite all his success and acclaim, Montrose “never thought he was good enough. He always feared he’d be exposed as a fraud. So he was exacting in his self-criticism, and the expectations he put upon himself were tremendous. Now I see that perhaps he didn’t want to carry these burdens for very much longer.”

This is a very sad story, so we’re going to end it with a video that proves Ronnie Montrose was anything but a fraud:

Watch Montrose Perform ‘Bad Motor Scooter’

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