"A truly superb drummer whose music and influence shall shine for infinity"
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.”
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.
Slipknot‘s Jay Weinberg wrote: “Thank you Ginger Baker.”
Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre wrote: “Rest In Peace Mr Ginger Baker.”
“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.
Read more tributes below: