Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek died Monday in Rosenheim, Germany after a long battle with bile duct cancer, his rep confirms to PEOPLE. He was 74.
Manzarek is best known as a founding member of the classic rock band The Doors, along with John Densmore, Robby Krieger and the group’s charismatic (and controversial) frontman Jim Morrison.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” Krieger said in a statement. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
The group formed after Manzarek met Morrison while studying film at UCLA in the early-’60s. Later that decade, they became a force on the Los Angeles music scene and helped define the sound of sixties rock. Among their indelible hits: “Break on Through to the Other Side,” “L.A. Woman,” and “Hello, I Love You.”
Following Morrison’s death in 1971, the group eventually disbanded, but Manzarek continued to write and record music and wrote a memoir on his time with the band in 1998, titled Light My Fire: My Time with the Doors. His role as the shrewd, straight-laced member of the group was also immortalized in Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie The Doors.
At the time of his death, Manzarek was surrounded by his wife Dorothy and his brothers Rick and James. He is also survived by his son Pablo and three grandchildren, Noah, Apollo and Camille.