Ramones punk band co-founder Tommy dies at 65

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Ramones punk band co-founder Tommy dies at 65
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 19: Tommy Ramone attends the 8th annual Johnny Ramone tribute at Hollywood Forever on August 19, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 19: Tommy Ramone attends the 8th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute at Hollywood Forever on August 19, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 29: Musician Tommy Ramone of Uncle Monk performs onstage during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Field on April 29, 2012 in Indio, California. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
Tommy Ramone of the duo Uncle Monk performs on stage at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2012 in Indio, California. Uncle Monks music is rooted in old-time and bluegrass influences. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27: Tommy Ramone attends the 'Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone' book party at BookMarc on April 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - MAY 19: Tommy Ramone of Joey Ramone Birthday Bashers performs at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2007 at Irving Plaza's The Fillmore New York May 19, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 1978: The Ramones (L to R: Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone) pose backstage at the Old Waldorf club in January 1978 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 1978: The Ramones (L to R: Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone) pose backstage at the Old Waldorf club in January 1978 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 07: The Ramones perform live on stage at The Palladium, New York on January 07 1978 L-R Tommy Ramone (drums) Johnny Ramone (guitar) (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: ERIC'S Photo of RAMONES and Dee Dee RAMONE and Joey RAMONE and Johnny RAMONE, L-R. Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, (fan ?), Tommy Ramone, Johnny Ramone (Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Tommy RAMONE and Johnny RAMONE and RAMONES; Johnny Ramone, Tommy Ramone (drums, background) (Photo by Howard Barlow/Redferns)
SANTA MONICA - AUGUST 1976: (L-R) Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone and Joey Ramone of the rock and roll band 'The Ramones' pose for a portrait holding letters that spell out the name of their band outside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in August of 1976. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 1976: Rock band 'The Ramones' performs onstage at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in August 1976 in Santa Monica, California. (L-R) Johnny Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA - AUGUST 1976: (L-R) Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone and Tommy Ramone of the rock and roll band 'The Ramones' pose for a portrait holding letters that spell out the name of their band outside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in August of 1976. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA - AUGUST 1976: (L-R) Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Tommy Ramone and Johnny Ramone of the rock and roll band 'The Ramones' pose for a portrait holding letters that spell out the name of their band outside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in August of 1976. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: USA Photo of Johnny RAMONE and RAMONES and Dee Dee RAMONE and Johnny RAMONE, L-R. Dee Dee Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone (Photo by Roberta Bayley/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of Tommy RAMONE and RAMONES and Dee Dee RAMONE and Johnny RAMONE; L-R. Dee Dee Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone (Photo by Roberta Bayley/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of RAMONES; L-R. Joey Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Iggy Pop, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone (Photo by Roberta Bayley/Redferns)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of Dee Dee RAMONE and RAMONES and Johnny RAMONE and Joey RAMONE; L-R. Johnny Ramone, Joey Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
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BY ERIC M. JOHNSON
(Reuters) - Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of the American punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died at the age of 65, an associate said on Saturday.

The death was confirmed by Dave Frey, Director at Ramones Productions, the company that controls the band's copyright. Frey declined to provide additional information.

Born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, Ramone was the co-founder of the band and its drummer from 1974 to 1978. He was the last surviving member of its original quartet, who adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone".

The New York band, with mops of long hair, black leather jackets, torn jeans and sneakers, had limited chart success but deeply influenced scores of musicians who would go on to form bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and Green Day.

They were seen as masters of minimalist, under two-and-a-half minute tunes played at blistering tempo, such as "Blitzkrieg Bop", "I Wanna be Sedated", "Rockaway Beach," and "Sheena is a Punk Rocker."

The band's style, anchored by Tommy's frenetic drumming, was partly a reaction against the bloated, and heavily produced rock music of the mid-1970s.

Tommy Ramone dies at 65

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2002, the Ramones eponymous first-album revitalized the rock scene.

"The Ramones got back to basics: simple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, guitar, bass, drums. No makeup, no egos, no light shows, no nonsense," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said on its website.

HEY HO

"They are heard everywhere. At every sporting event you hear 'Hey, ho, let's go!,'" Frey said, citing lyrics from "Blitzkrieg Bop". "They connected in a big way."

Frey called Tommy last month to tell him their debut record had reached gold status and said "he was thrilled. He couldn't believe it," Frey said.

The Ramones performed 2,263 concerts between their formation in 1974 and final show in 1996. They released 21 studio, live and compilation albums over a 20-year period, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said.

Guitarist Johnny Ramone, born John Cummings, died of prostate cancer in 2004. Singer Joey Ramone, born Jeff Hyman, died of lymphoma in 2001. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, died the following year of a heroin overdose.

Tommy, who acted at various times also as a songwriter, producer, and engineer, died at 12:15 p.m. local time at his home in Queens, New York, according to a statement on Facebook from New York Rocker Magazine publisher Andy Schwartz.

Ramone had been in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct, and is survived by Claudia Tienan, his partner of 40 years, and other family members including nephews Eric and David, Schwartz said.

In recent years, Tommy and Tienan performed and recorded as the indie-acoustic country and bluegrass duo Uncle Monk, Schwartz said.

In high school, Tommy played guitar in a group called Tangerine Puppets that also included Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone on bass and trained as a recording engineer and assisted on various New York sessions, including with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, Schwartz said.

Last Surviving Original Member Of The Ramones Dies In N.Y.

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