According to Guitar Player, a report by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office, released on April 6, confirms legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The toxicology report also 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.
The Montrose family posted the following statement on RonnieMontrose.com:
“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. He loved being a guitarist, a composer, a producer, and a creator of magic. He fully understood his gifts, and yet he constantly pushed himself 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. Please keep his energy, his joy, and his love in your hearts.”
Although Montrose did not leave a suicide note, his wife/manager Leighsa Montrose feels he was probably always planning for an exit.
“Ronnie had a very difficult childhood, which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy,” Leighsa tells Guitar Player. “This is why he always drove himself so hard. He 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’
She adds, “I knew I had married an alcoholic, but Ronnie was never anything but loving. He could be curmudgeonly and cranky, but he was never angry or abusive to me in any way. He 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 he played.”
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Photo below courtesy of RonnieMontrose.com