Guitar great Ronnie Montrose passed away at the age of 64 on Saturday following a long battle with prostate cancer.

A legend whose early Montrose albums launched the career of one Mr. Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Montrose also played with Van Morrison, the Edgar Winter Group including the hits "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride."

A statement on Montrose's site read: "A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday. He gave an impromptu speech, and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn’t take any of our love for granted. He passed today. He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we’re glad to have shared with him while we could."

Ronnie Montrose joined original Montrose bands members Bill Church and Denny Carmassi on Sammy Hagar's Marching To Mars album for the track "Leaving The Warmth Of The Womb." His last solo studio album was the acoustic instrumental set Bearings in 1999.