The recently published San Mateo County Coroner's report into to the death of Ronnie Montrose has revealed that the talented guitarist took his own life. Montrose died tragically from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Initial reports of his death stated that he died from prostate cancer that he had suffered from for at least 5 years.
Montrose reportedly battled clinical depression for much of his life, and booking agent Jim Douglas said that the guitarist was dealing with "personal demons" when confirming the death last month. A toxicology report found that Montrose's blood-alcohol level was at 0.31% at the time of his death, but no other drugs were found in his system.Guitarist Ronnie Montrose had a career and a talent most people only dream of. He played music to adoring fans in packed concert venues, travelled the world on tour, and created well-loved songs as a solo artist and performed with performers like Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock, Sammy Hagar, Edgar Winter, and Boz Scaggs.
His widow, Leighsa, tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “He was very hard on himself. He would play shows where there would be three standing ovations, and all he would talk about on the drive home is what he didn’t do right.”
Creative people can be enormously hard on themselves. There’s a recognisable tendency to disbelieve the good things other people have to say. Psychologists call it the “imposter syndrome,” a secret sense that the one thing we really are good at is convincing others we’re better than we are.
"He never thought he was good enough. He always feared he’d be exposed as a fraud,” Leighsa told Guitar Player magazine. “So he was exacting in his self criticism, and the expectations he put upon himself were tremendous.”
Montrose got his first break when he was invited to play on Van Morrison's 1971 album, Tupelo Honey.