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Last original member of The Ramones punk band dies

Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founding member of the pioneering punk band The Ramones, has died, the band announced on social media on Saturday.

NEW YORK: Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founding member of the pioneering punk band The Ramones, has died, the band announced on social media on Saturday.

Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Tommy died on Friday at his New York home following treatment for cancer, the entertainment magazine Variety reported.

Tommy was 65, the band's manager with Silent Partner Management told The Los Angeles Times. Earlier reports said that he was 62.

"We are saddened to announce the passing of Ramones founding drummer Tommy (Erdelyi) Ramone," the band said on its Twitter feed.

The four original members, who all took on the last name Ramone, formed the band in the mid-1970s and emerged as a fixture of the New York punk underground.

The Ramones made it big with their first three albums: "Ramones" (1976) -- which included their first single hit, "Blitzkrieg Bop" -- along with "Leave Home" and "Rocket to Russia" (both from 1977).

"The Ramones revitalized rock and roll at one of its lowest ebbs, infusing it with punk energy, brash attitude and a loud, fast new sound," reads the band's biography in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When their first album appeared, "the rock scene in general had become somewhat bloated and narcissistic. The Ramones got back to basics: simple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs."

While the first album was not a commercial success, it was widely considered as having a seminal influence on the growth of punk-rock music. The album topped SPIN magazine's list of 50 Essential Punk Records and was even inducted into the Library of Congress.

Other Ramones hits include "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," and "Beat on The Brat".

Tommy, who "anchored the frantic beat with superhuman energy," surrendered his drumsticks to a new drummer, Marky Ramone, in 1978, but remained as the band's co-producer and advisor through 1984.

The Ramones disbanded in 1996, and the band was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Lead vocalist Joey Ramone died in 2001, bass guitarist and vocalist Dee Dee Ramone died in 2002, and guitarist Johnny Ramone died in 2004.

"It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea," the band's Facebook entry read, citing Tommy from 1978.

"It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music -- it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody." 

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