Tommy Ramone (real name: Erdélyi Tamás), the last surviving founding member and original drummer of iconic punkrock band The Ramones, has died. He was 65 years old.
Tommy Ramone passed away Friday at 12:15 pm in Ridgewood, Queens. He had been in hospice care and was suffering from cancer of the bile duct.
Tommy was born as Erdélyi Tamás in Budapest, Hungary to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust by being hidden by neighbors. He immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of four.
In 1974 Tommy co-founded The Ramones with singer Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone) and bassist Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone), taking their surname from an alias Paul McCartney used to check into hotels.
The punkrock band stripped rock down to its essentials: two guitars, drums, a singer and no solos.
In 1976 Tommy recorded the band's debut album 'The Ramones' - 14 songs in less than 30 minutes - as well as 'Leave Home' and 'Rocket to Russia' in 1977. He also co-produced 1978's 'Road to Ruin' plus the band's live double album, 'It's Alive' in 1979.
After three albums in two years and extensive touring, Tommy was exhausted and left the band in 1978. He was followed up by Marc Bell, who would join the band under the moniker of Marky Ramone.
Tommy continued to work as a producer, ioncluding The Ramones' 1984 album 'Too Tough to Die' and The Replacements' 1985 album, 'Tim'.
In 2002 Tommy landed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Ramones.
He is survived by longtime partner Claudia Tienan, brother Peter, sister-in-law Andrea Tienan and nephews Eric and David.