(Reuters) - Mike Hossack, a longtime member of rock band The Doobie Brothers, has died of cancer at the age of 65, the band's manager said on Tuesday.
Hossack, who helped give the band its distinctive sound with two drummers in the early 1970s, died peacefully on Monday at his home in Dubois, Wyoming, manager Bruce Cohn said.
"Mike was a one-of-a kind guy and a longtime member of the Doobie Brothers," Cohn said in a statement. "He was a fighter and fought the big battle with cancer and I speak for Mike's family and the entire band when I say he will be greatly missed."
New Jersey-born Hossack began playing drums at the age of 12. After serving in the Navy in Vietnam in the late 1960s he was planning a career in law enforcement before getting his first gig with a California band called Mourning Reign.
That led to an invitation to join the northern California band The Doobie Brothers in 1971, where he became the second drummer and was heard on early hit songs like "Blackwater", "Listen to the Music" and "China Grove."
Hossack left the Doobie Brothers in 1973 and formed Bonaroo, worked with other bands, and became a partner in a Hollywood recording studio.
He rejoined the Doobie Brothers in 1987 for a series of benefit concerts for Vietnam war veterans, and remained with them when the band reformed to make albums like "Cycles", "Brotherhood" and 2010's "World Gone Crazy."
Founding member and guitarist Tom Johnston said Hossack was "an incredible musician, a studio quality drummer."
"The last few years, he was brave and determined to keep on playing in the face of ill health, and I will always admire him for that," Johnston said on Tuesday.
Doobie Brothers' singer and songwriter Pat Simmons said he and Hossack were friends for 43 years.
"We shared some wonderful adventures together, times I will never forget. Thanks for all those wonderful memories Mike, and all the great music. We love you," Simmons said.
Reporting By Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney