His death was announced by the Ramones’ official Twitter account in the early hours of Saturday morning. The account tweeted, “We are saddened to announce the passing of Ramones founding drummer Tommy (Erdelyi) Ramone. #RIPTommyRamone.”
Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, he co-founded the Ramones in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman), bassist Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) and guitarist Johnny Ramone (John Cummings). All four changed their stage names to “Ramone” after forming the band, something which all subsequent members of the band did as well.
“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” said Tommy Ramone in 1978. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.”
The Ramones were one of the most influential artists of all time, even though they avoided commercial success. A 2003 tribute album, produced by Rob Zombie, included contributions by a grip of artists that show the respect that they got from much more commercially successful, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eddie Vedder, Metallica, U2, Green Day, the Pretenders and Tom Waits, among others.