Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker died yesterday (October 6th) at the age of 80. Baker’s family posted a message to fans on Twitter, saying, “We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully this morning. Thank you to everyone for your kind words to us all over the past weeks.” The family announced last month that Baker was hospitalized and “critically ill.”
Baker had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in addition to chronic back pain from degenerative osteoarthritis. In 2016 Baker was forced to scrap a string of live dates after undergoing open-heart surgery.
Back in 2013, Ginger Baker told Rolling Stone that his health was, “. . . not good. It’s troubling. At the end of the gig I’m absolutely exhausted. I’ve got degenerative osteoarthritis, which is extremely painful and I’m on a regiment with a health service pain management control. Apart from that I’ve got COPD from smoking.”
Ginger Baker, who was based out of West Africa, was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary, Beware Of Mr. Baker, which shed light on his tough and at times introverted personality, which underscored some of the problems his bandmates in Cream and Blind Faith had with him. Most of those that knew him best thought he was a bizarre drug abuser and those that didn’t know him as well thought of him as insane. But all agreed he was one of the best drummers they had ever heard play. Baker was married four times and has three adult children.
Check out some classic Ginger Baker below.