Tommy Ramone, a co-founder of the seminal punk band the Ramones and the last surviving member of the original group, has died, a business associate said Saturday.
Dave Frey, who works for Ramones Productions and Silent Partner Management, confirmed that the drummer, who was known offstage as Thomas Erdelyi, died Friday. Ramone was 65.
Variety reports that Ramone had been in hospice care after treatment for bile duct cancer.
Tommy Ramone co-founded the Ramones in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone, bassist Dee Dee Ramone and guitarist Johnny Ramone. All four band members had different last names, but took the common name Ramone.
The band influenced a generation of rockers, and their hit songs "I Wanna Be Sedated," and "Blitzkrieg Bop," among others, earned them an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Clad in leather jackets and long black mops of hair, the group of motley misfits started out in legendary New York clubs like CBGB and Max's Kansas City, where they blasted their rapid-fire songs.
Since its debut album in 1976, the band struggled for commercial success, but they left a formidable imprint on the rock genre. Though they never had a Top 40 song, the Ramones influenced scores of followers, including bands such as Green Day and Nirvana.
Even Bruce Springsteen was moved. After seeing the Ramones in Asbury Park, N.J., Springsteen wrote "Hungry Heart" for the band. His manager, however, swayed him to keep the song for himself and it became a hit single.
The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: "Beat on the Brat," ''Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," ''Teenage Lobotomy," ''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.
Johnny Ramone, whose birth name was John Cummings, died in 2004 of prostate cancer. Joey Ramone, whose real name is Jeff Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer. Dee Dee Ramone, whose real name is Douglas Colvin, died from a drug overdose in 2002. Tommy Ramone was born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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