The guitarist with pioneering punk rock band the Ramones is fighting a losing a battle with cancer in a Los Angeles hospital, Rolling Stone magazine reported on its Web site on Tuesday.
Johnny Ramone, 55, whose real name is John Cummings, was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago, and it has now spread throughout his body, Rollingstone.com quoted the band’s drummer, Marky Ramone, as saying.
“Johnny’s been a champ in confronting this, but at this point I think the chances are slim,” Marky Ramone said in the report. “John never smoked cigarettes, he wasn’t a heavy drinker and he was always into his health. It just proves when cancer seeks a body to penetrate, it doesn’t matter how healthy you are or how unhealthy you are. It just seeps in and there’s nothing you can do.”
The Ramones, famed for playing their high-energy, unpolished songs at breakneck speed, rose to fame in New York City in 1974, paving the way for such British punk rock icons as the Sex Pistols and the Clash.
The band made its mark with such tunes as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” but it never achieved the same commercial success as acts that followed in its path. The Ramones officially retired in 1996.
The band’s singer, Joey Ramone (ne Jeff Hyman), died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer, while bassist Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) died from a drug overdose the following year.