March 13, 2012 / 8:18 PM / 7 years ago

Doobie Brothers' drummer dies of cancer at age 65

(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.”

Members of the rock group the Doobie Brothers (L-R) Pat Simmons,Tom Johnston, Mike Hossack and John McFee are shown in this undated publicity photograph released to Reuters March 13, 2012. Doobie Brothers drummer Hossack,65, died March 12 at his home in Dubois, Wyoming after a long battle with cancer, according to Doobie Brothers manager Bruce Cohn March 13. REUTERS/Courtesy d. baron media relations/Handout

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.

Doobie Brothers performing at the Harley-Davidson closing party in downtown Milwaukee August 31, 2003. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson

Reporting By Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney

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