Wife of legendary rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose 'at a loss for words' after outpouring of support

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Leighsa Montrose, wife of Ronnie Montrose, says she has been “so moved and completely at a loss for words” over the outpouring of love and respect for the late legendary rock guitarist.

Montrose died at age 64 on March 3 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Best known for his band Montrose, formed in 1973 with vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi, Montrose also founded the groundbreaking Gamma in the late 1970s and issued a series of well-regarded solo projects.

“All of you have honored my sweet husband Ronnie in your own personal ways with the most amazing stories and sentiment,” Leighsa says in a new statement. “I will forever cherish these gifts you have given to us. I know he would be humbled to say the least.”

Over the years, Montrose’s albums and tours featured a well spring of talent, including the then-unknown Hagar, Edgar Winter, Aynsley Dunbar, Glenn Letsch, Mitchell Froom and Steve Smith. Montrose was a respected sessions musician, too — having worked on celebrated albums with Van Morrison (Tupelo Honey), the Edgar Winter Group (They Only Come Out at Night), the Neville Brothers (Uptown), Herbie Hancock (Mwandishi) and Gary Wright (The Dream Weaver), as well as other dates with Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner, Marc Bonilla, Nicolette Larson and Boz Scaggs.

“On behalf of our family I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your notes and letters of kindness, love and support,” Leighsa says. “At times, I am so moved and completely at a loss for words. Somehow even now they don’t seem to be enough to convey my gratitude. This is why I have not written until now.”

The Montrose band’s self-titled ’73 debut, underrated at the time, has since become a touchstone recording in rock — serving as a reference point, for instance, in the mid-1970s work of Van Halen. Hagar was then part of a second edition of Van Halen, beginning in 1985.

The original Montrose lineup last reformed in 2004-05, appearing as a special guest at a series of Hagar concerts. Ronnie Montrose’s most recent studio albums were 1999’s solo effort Bearings and Gamma’s 2000 album Gamma 4.

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