Leslie West, vocalist and guitarist of hard rock band Mountain, passes away at 75

The band are perhaps best known for their 1970 single 'Mississippi Queen'

Leslie West, vocalist and guitarist of hard rock outfit Mountain, has passed away at age 75.

West’s brother, Larry West Weinstein, confirmed to Rolling Stone that the musician passed away on Wednesday morning (December 23). West entered cardiac arrest on Monday (December 21) and was rushed to a hospital near his home in Daytona, Florida. He reportedly did not regain consciousness.

West was born Leslie Weinstein on October 22, 1945. He founded Mountain in 1969, alongside Cream associate and producer Felix Pappalardi, N.D. Smart and Steve Knight. The band are perhaps best known for their hit ‘Mississippi Queen’. Co-written by West, the Southern rock track appeared on Mountain’s 1970 debut album, ‘Climbing!’.

Leslie West frontman guitarist vocalist Mountain dead at 75 cardiac arrest
Mountain’s Felix Pappalardi (left) and Leslie West performing in 1971. Credit: Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

‘Mississippi Queen’ was the group’s biggest chart hit in the United States, peaking at Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Recently, Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin covered it as part of their Hanukkah cover song series, which celebrated the religious holiday by paying tribute to Jewish artists.

Mountain also had the distinguished honour of performing at Woodstock in 1969. In just their fourth gig as a band, the group joined a legendary lineup which featured Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and more.

Mountain disbanded for the first time in 1972, before reforming periodically in the years that followed.

Health problems were a fixture of West’s later life. In 2011, part of his right leg was amputated following complications with diabetes. Despite these challenges, West continued to perform well into his seventies, releasing his final solo album in 2015.

Tom Morello, Slash, Paul Stanley of Kiss and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider are among those to have paid tribute to Leslie West following news of his passing. See their tributes below.