Tommy Ramone, last member of The Ramones, dies of cancer

US punk band’s original drummer passes away aged 62

Gabba gabba hey! Tommy Ramone, the last surviving member of US band the Ramones, has died after bile duct cancer treatment. Photograph: EPA

Gabba gabba hey! Tommy Ramone, the last surviving member of US band the Ramones, has died after bile duct cancer treatment. Photograph: EPA

Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 11:37

Tommy Ramone, last original member of seminal punk band the Ramones, has died at his home in Queens, New York.

He was 62 and had been in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct.

“We are saddened to announce the passing of Ramones founding drummer Tommy (Erdelyi) Ramone,” a message on the band’s official Twitter feed said.

Tommy Ramone, who was born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, co-founded the Ramones in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone, bassist DeeDee Ramone and guitarist Johnny Ramone.

Tommy left the band in 1978.

“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” he said in 1978. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music — it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.”

All four band members had different last names, but took the common name Ramone.

Joey Ramone - born Jeffrey Hyman - died of lymphatic cancer in 2001, while guitarist Johnny Ramone, whose real name was John Cummings, died of of prostate cancer in 2004. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone, who was born Douglas Colvin, died of a drug overdose in 2002.

In 2002, all four original members and surviving drummer Marky Ramone were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Though they never had a Top 40 song, the Ramones influenced scores of followers, including Green Day and Nirvana. The Ramones’ best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years: Beat on the Brat, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Teenage Lobotomy and Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.

The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, Adios Amigos. A live farewell tour album, We’re Outta Here!, was released in 1997.