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Ronnie Montrose's Death Ruled a Suicide

When news surfaced last week that there was still no official cause of the death of Ronnie Montrose, and that the guitarist had actually been in remission from colon cancer at the time of his death, many couldn't help but speculate that the guitarist may have taken his own life.

That news has been confirmed today. Montrose's March 3 death has been ruled a suicide, as the guitarist succumbed not to cancer, but to clinical depression.

A statement from Montrose's family was posted on his official website earlier today. It reads:

"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.

"Please note that there will be no more statements from the Montrose family at this time. We ask that you respect the family's privacy."

Speaking with Guitar Player, his wife Leighsa revealed that the guitarist had dealt with severe depression from a young age.

"Ronnie had a very difficult childhood," she said, "which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy,” said Leighsa. “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.”

You can read more here.

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Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.