Founding Member of the Doors Dead at 74

'Light My Fire' organ riff remains rock legend

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 20, 2013 6:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ray Manzarek, a founding member of the Doors whose versatile and often haunting keyboards complimented Jim Morrison's gloomy baritone and helped set the mood for some of rock's most enduring songs, has died. He was 74. Manzarek died today in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family, said his publicist. His manager confirmed Manzarek died after being stricken by bile duct cancer.

Manzarek's spidery organ on "Light My Fire" is one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in rock history. Manzarek continued to remain active in music well after Morrison's death in 1971 and briefly tried to hold the band together by serving as vocalist. He played in other bands over the years, produced other acts, became an author and worked on films.

Ray Manzarek
Ray Manzarek   (Chris Pizzello)
Members of the Doors, from left,  John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, pose for a portrait.
Members of the Doors, from left, John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, pose for a portrait.   (Anonymous)
Former Doors band members Ray Manzarek, right, and Robby Krieger display the stars they received on the Walk of Fame in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.
Former Doors band members Ray Manzarek, right, and Robby Krieger display the stars they received on the Walk of Fame in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.   (Nick Ut)
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