Guitar legend Ronnie Montrose committed suicide, coroner reports

The death of rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose has been ruled a suicide.

Montrose, who founded and played guitar in the 1970s hard rock band of the same name, was found dead on March 3 in the living room of his home in San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco.

The San Mateo County coroner said Friday that the 64-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

At the time of death, Montrose's blood alcohol level was 0.31 percent -- almost four times above California's legal limit.

Fans initially speculated the musician may have died from prostate cancer. He had been diagnosed with the disease in 2007.

PHOTOS: Underrated guitarists from the 1970s.

Following the release of the coroner's report, Montrose's family posted a statement on his official website, urging fans to "celebrate Ronnie's life."

"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," the statement said.


Montrose's wife, Leighsa Montrose, told the Chronicle that the guitarist -- who had suffered from depression -- did not leave a suicide note.

"He was very hard on himself," Leighsa Montrose said. "He would play shows where there would be three standing ovations, and all he would talk about on the drive home is what he didn't do right."

He didn’t leave a suicide note, she said: “He didn’t give any indication.”

Montrose was a session musician who played with Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock and Boz Scaggs, among others, before forming his eponymous band in 1973.

The band launched the career of future Van Halen frontman and solo artist Sammy Hagar.

Montrose is also survived by a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren.