Ginger Baker, the drummer and founder of Cream, has died. He was 80 years old.
- Read more: Ginger Baker, 1939-2019 – the NME obituary
The news was shared via the drummer’s Twitter. “We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this morning,” a tweet read. “Thank you to everyone for your kind words over the past weeks.”
We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this morning. Thank you to everyone for your kind words over the past weeks.
— Ginger Baker (@GingerBDrums) October 6, 2019
No further details about Baker’s cause of death have been disclosed at the time of writing.
In 2013, Baker announced that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking, and chronic back pain as a result of degenerative osteoarthritis.
In July 2016, he underwent open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with a “major” heart condition. He suffered a fall at his home four months earlier, which forced him to cancel shows with his band Air Force 3.
Baker founded Cream in 1966 with Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, the trio released four albums including the influential ‘Disraeli Gears’ before splitting in 1968. Baker and Clapton went on to play in Blind Faith with Steve Winwood of Traffic and Family bassist Ric Grech, who lasted only one self-titled album.
After his band Air Force recorded two albums in 1970, Baker released 18 solo albums, most recently ‘Why’ in 2014. He has also made three albums with Fela Kuti. The father-of-three has also endured a long battle with heroin addiction, telling The Guardian in 2013 he had come off the drug “29 times”.
A documentary focused on the drummer, titled Beware Of Mr Baker, was released in cinemas in the UK in 2013.
Tributes have begun to pour in for Baker, with the likes of Paul McCartney, his Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brian Wilson and more all paying their respects to the late drummer.
Ginger Baker, great drummer, wild and lovely guy. We worked together on the 'Band on the Run' album in his ARC Studio, Lagos, Nigeria. Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will. X Paul pic.twitter.com/Rne4tn6A2i
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 6, 2019
I’m sorry to hear that Ginger Baker passed. He was a great drummer and we all were fans of Cream back then. “Sunshine Of Your Love” was a great one. Love & Mercy, Brian
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) October 6, 2019
Sad news hearing that Ginger Baker has died, I remember playing with him very early on in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer. pic.twitter.com/tZg3IGwP4Z
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) October 6, 2019
God bless Ginger Baker incredible musician wild And inventive. drummer Peace and love to his family 😎✌️🌟❤️🎵🥦🎶☮️ pic.twitter.com/jzAynDMEKy
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) October 6, 2019
Slipknot‘s Jay Weinberg wrote: “Thank you Ginger Baker.”
Thank you Ginger Baker.
— Jay Weinberg (@jayweinbergdrum) October 6, 2019
Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre wrote: “Rest In Peace Mr Ginger Baker.”
Rest In Peace Mr Ginger Baker. pic.twitter.com/uiEJF0zv9Y
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) October 6, 2019
“Stirred to the news of Ginger Baker’s passing. Another giant gone. A fucking beast,” one fan wrote. “A truly superb drummer whose music and influence shall shine for infinity,” said another.
Stirred to the news of Ginger Baker's passing. Another giant gone. A fucking beast. pic.twitter.com/wGcxtNsvtE
— Cory Frye (@Fryeness) October 6, 2019
A truly superb drummer whose music and influence shall shine for infinity.
— Kentish Wench♿️🇪🇺Ⓥ☮️♋️ (@HollieWench) October 6, 2019
Read more tributes below:
RIP Ginger Baker
That full 1968 Cream farewell concert is absolutely remarkable.
Listen to the opening two minutes of commentary dialogue on the start of this. Beautiful written, and exquisitely delivered in total reverence.https://t.co/DuXWwXg6dX
— Lee Thompson (@leethommo) October 6, 2019
"It's the drummer's job to make the other guys sound good", Ginger Baker, RIP.
— BB Skone (@BBSkone) October 6, 2019
— Bart Slim (@BartSlim) October 6, 2019
It's sad to hear the news that legendary sticksman #GingerBaker has passed away at the age of 80. From the #GrahamBondOrganisation #Cream #BlindFaith #BakerGurvitzArmy & more, he certainly left a legacy. #RIPGingerBaker pic.twitter.com/Io225VuVEl
— 𝓒𝓪𝓻𝓫𝓲𝓮 𝓦𝓪𝓻𝓫𝓲𝓮 🐓 (@CarbieWarbie) October 6, 2019
— Doug Donut (@DougDonut) October 6, 2019
Like Hendrix, Ginger Baker was a name synonymous w/ early days rock. Once you heard him play, saw pics & footage, he seemed to embody the music’s power, the culture’s adventure. Spending a day w/ him in 2014 magnified it all. Lost a big one this morning. pic.twitter.com/nNc5teVfl5
— Mark Paytress (@Paytress) October 6, 2019