Ray Manzarek, founding member and keyboardist of the Doors, dies at 74

Ray Manzarek, far right, with the other members of the Doors at the Golden Gate Bridge
Ray Manzarek, far right, with the other members of the Doors at the Golden Gate Bridge

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY AIDIN VAZIRI AND PUBLISHED BY SF GATE ON MAY 20, 2013.

Ray Manzarek, the founding member and keyboard player for the Doors whose haunting and sweetly melodic organ riffs loomed large in the psychedelic rock era, died Monday at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany. He was 74.

The cause was bile duct cancer, said a spokeswoman for the band, Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. She said the musician had struggled with complications related to the disease for several months and that his wife, Dorothy, and his brothers, Rick and James, were at his bedside when he died.

The Doors were one of rock music’s most renowned and controversial acts. Formed in 1965, when Mr. Manzarek had a chance encounter with aspiring poet and film student Jim Morrison at Venice Beach, the band went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide, with hits like “Light My Fire,” “Hello, I Love You,” “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” “L.A. Woman” and “Roadhouse Blues.”

The Doors first came to San Francisco in January 1967 to open for the Young Rascals and Sopwith Camel at the Fillmore Auditorium. They also frequented local venues such as the Avalon Ballroom and Matrix Club, with bootleg recordings from the shows long circulating among fans.

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