Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has died at 80

Danny Thompson
Contributor
Musician Ginger Baker of Cream performs at the Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp at AMP Rehearsal Studios on November 6, 2015 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Legendary drummer Ginger Baker has died aged 80.

Baker was best known as the co-founder of rock supergroup Cream, alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, his hugely influential drumming style, and for having flaming hair which gave him his nickname.

His death was announced this morning on his Twitter account in a statement that read: “We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully in hospital this morning. Thank you to everyone for your kind words over the past weeks.”

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Baker’s death comes shortly after his family confirmed he was receiving medical treatment after becoming “critically ill”.

They posted on his Twitter account last month: “Please keep him in your prayers tonight.”

Cream was founded in 1966 and are regarded as the world’s first rock supergroup, with Bruce having been a member of Manfred Mann, Clapton a member of The Yardbirds and Baker playing with The Graham Bond Organisation.

Rock band "Cream" pose for a portrait in a row boat in Central Park in November 1968 in New York City, New York. L-R: Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Though only together for around two years, releasing four albums, the band’s output proved hugely influential. Their song Sunshine of Your Love features one of the most recognisable guitar riffs in music history.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 for their contribution to music.

Cream reunited for a series of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall and Maddison Square Garden in 2005 before winning a Grammy Life Time Achievement award in 2006.

After Cream, Baker played with Blind Faith, Hawkwind and Fela Kuti.

Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

The rock and roll lifestyle took its toll, however, and his later years were marred by ill health. He was diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition and the onset of emphysema.

The musician also fought osteoarthritis and in 2016 underwent open heart surgery that lead to him announcing his retirement from touring.

Read more: Cream Drummer Ginger Baker ‘Holding His Own’ in Hospital

"Just seen doctor… big shock… no more gigs for this old drummer... everything is off," he wrote on his official blog.

"Of all things, I never thought it would be my heart."