SOURCE: Ampage

February 03, 2016 16:32 ET

Michael Kroeger, Drummer for Famed West Coast Hard Rock Band Ampage, Dies at 55 After a Brief Illness

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 3, 2016) - Michael Kroeger, drummer and co-founder of the West Coast hard rock band Ampage (, died at The Charlier Hospice Center the morning of January 31 from pneumonia contracted in the wake of his recent diagnosis and treatment of leukemia. He was 55.

The announcement was made by the band's co-founder and longtime frontman Mark Mason, who began playing music with Kroeger at Fountain Valley High School in Orange County, CA. They launched Ampage in Huntington Beach, CA in 1979.

Though the band experienced numerous lineup changes over the past few decades, including previous band mates Earl Slick (Bowie, Lennon), and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen.

Kroeger's trademark intensity and timekeeping skills was a near-constant through a storied independent discography that resulted in numerous chart successes, 5 movies including a hit song for the #1 Disney movie and trailer "Brink" and multiple world tours.

Mason has designated all monies earned from Ampage's upcoming new album Bridge of Souls produced by Duane Baron (Ozzy, Cheap Trick, Heart) -- which features Kroeger's last recorded performances -- to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the drummer's name. The new album will be available worldwide via vinyl, CD and download in the spring of 2016.

On December 5, 2015, the band revealed that Kroeger, who lived in Portland, OR and was in the process of moving to Point Arena, Calif. to be closer to the band, had been diagnosed with leukemia. He was hospitalized and fighting for his life in his home state of Indiana to be near his family, where he was undergoing a very aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and a possible bone marrow transplant. 

In a phone conversation that Mason had with Kroeger a few weeks before his passing, the singer was pleased to hear that the drummer was not afraid or in pain. "He wanted me to push the new album from my side and he said he would push it from his. Even on his death bed he could make me laugh said Mason. We both reminisced about how two kids from Orange County got a chance to live their dream. His last words to me were, "Rock on, Mark!"

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