Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Ronnie Montrose Death Ruled a Suicide | GuitarPlayer

Ronnie Montrose Death Ruled a Suicide | GuitarPlayer

It was not the prostate cancer that killed guitar legend Ronnie Montrose. He beat that gremlin into the dirt, as he did so many obstacles to his career and musical expression. But Montrose, who was immensely proud of being a "survivor," could not simply vanquish the clinical depression that plagued him since he was a child.

On March 3, 2012, I sought inner peace by taking his own life. A report by the San Mateo County Coroner's Office, released on April 6, confirms the guitarist died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Anticipating the coroner's findings would soon be made public, the Montrose family asked me to Write this article. I was a long-time friend and colleague, and the family wanted the painful story to be told by a member of the Bay Area media that Montrose himself knew and trusted.

The family also posted the following statement on

"By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie's death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news as private as possible. Ronnie's life, and what his music meant to you, rather than his passing mourn. Ronnie would have wanted it that way. I have been a guitarist, composer, producer, and creator of magic. I have fully understood his gifts, and yet I have constantly pushed myself to evolve, improve, and make better music. He did this for himself, and he did this for you, because he adored and appreciated his fans. "

Montrose did not leave a suicide note, but his wife / manager Leighsa Montrose feels like he was probably planning for an exit.

The torment of self-doubt likely contributed to Montrose's long-term alcoholism. The toxicology report showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.31% when he died-almost four times the legal limit in California. No evidence of other drugs was found in his system.

"I knew I had married an alcoholic, but Ronnie was never anything but loving," said Leighsa. "He could be curmudgeonly and cranky, but he was never angry or abusive to me in any way. I have definitely had a reputation for his bad temper and controlling personality when he was younger, but he'd always say that I got the best version of himself, and we were nearly inseparable. We ate every meal together. I went to every show I played. "

Famously mercurial, Montrose always seemed to tank a project just when things were getting good. Factor out the depression, and Montrose's frequent conceptual and stylistic shifts seem like the actions of a true artist following his creative muse no matter what the business ramifications might be. But, knowing what Montrose was suffering through every day of his life, a different perspective arises-one of a man in constant evolution and reevaluation because he always felt he had to much, much better.

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But the deaths of his uncle and his beloved bulldog within three weeks of each other in January 2012 (the week before , And the week after the filming of his live DVD, put Montrose in a reflective state, and likely exacerbated his ongoing depression.

On March 2, Montrose had been drinking heavily, but he got up the next Day at 8 am and made breakfast for Leighsa and her mother (who resided at the Montrose home), which was his typical routine. At 10:03 am, Montrose texted Leighsa, asking if she wanted him to bring lunch down to her design studio. The mood was abruptly changed when Montrose texted he was glad Leighsa had "figured it out. , Found the hooch, and stopped him from going down the dark path. "At 11:01 am, I added," I have the .38 in my hand and am ready to go. "

" Ronnie Always had a dark and bizarre sense of humor, "said Leighsa. "And, at this point, I truly thought I was speaking in metaphors."

But the next text- "I'm so sorry. Still have the gun in my hand. I'm going on that voyage. I love you beyond measure "-worried her, and she immediately called him and asked that he has come to her studio.

"I've got to go home-something is wrong, 'I said, Said Leighsa. "When I turned to look at my phone, I saw the last text from him. I did not hear it come in. It said, 'I can not. I've got the gun to my head. '"

They rushed home, but it was too late. Montrose was sitting in his favorite recliner in his living room, an unregistered Smith & amp; Wesson Model 38 Special CTG Airborne revolver in his hand, and his cell phone at his feet.

Ronnie Montrose was pronounced dead by medics from Brisbane Fire Engine # 81 at noon.

"My sense of Ronnie as the persistent and decisive adventurer-as well as all his music about space, flight, and Travel-speaks volumes about his choice and his action, "reflected Leighsa. "Seeing beyond was always what he did best. He was always breaking ground, following his heart, his intuition, his star. 'If you were observant enough, you could catch him at every show noodling a bit of the melody to Led Zeppelin's' In My Time of Dying. 'The song contained the lyrics,' Well, well, well, just I can die easy. 'Well, well, well, so I can die easy.' "

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