How did Ron Bushy die? Iron Butterfly drummer dies at 79 surrounded by wife and kids

Ron Bushy, the only Iron Butterfly member to appear in all six studio albums died in Los Angeles due to esophageal cancer complications

                            How did Ron Bushy die? Iron Butterfly drummer dies at 79 surrounded by wife and kids
Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy dies at 79 (Ron Bushy/Twitter)

If you are a fan of 60's and 70's rock music, chances are the name Ron Bushy rings a bell. The iconic drummer was a member of Iron Butterfly, and the drummer responsible for the memorable solo in 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'. His family confirmed Bushy died on August 29, at UCLA medical centre in Los Angeles; a news which has broken many hearts. Online, fans are mourning the loss of the iconic Bushy, with tributes pouring in. 

The death of Bushy is another severe blow for the music industry, which has already seen several icons die this year. On August 24, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died in London, surrounded by his family. In July, Dominican singer Johnny Ventura died in Santiago after fainting during a medical appointment. Days before that, Kansas violinist Robert Eugene Steinhardt succumbed to complications from pancreatitis.


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Bushy was a regular member of the band till the mid-2010s before he finally decided to retire due to health concerns. A family man, Bushy spent the last decade with his wife Nancy and three daughters, who were also at his side when he passed away. He also has six grandchildren at the time of his death at 79. 

Ron Bushy of Iron Butterfly on his iconic set of drums. (Iron Butterfly/Facebook)

How did Ron Bushy die?

The exact cause of Bushy's death was not revealed, but his family reportedly told TMZ he was battling esophageal cancer. No further details were revealed, but TMZ did say he died from "complications" due to the disease. The band also issued a brief statement, and said, "Ron Bushy, our beloved legendary drummer of Iron Butterfly, has passed away peacefully, with his wife Nancy by his side, at 12:05 am on August 29th at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital." They added, "He was a real fighter … He will be deeply missed!"



A private man who kept well away from the spotlight, not much is known about Bushy's health prior to his death. It is unclear if the cancer is what led to him retiring from the band in the 2010s or if he had other issues. If and when his family chose to reveal more, only then will we know more. Bushy did give several interviews since retiring from the band, but never really revealed any major health concerns. His last known interview was in February 2021, with Vinyl Music Writer

While Bushy leaves behind a huge legacy, he will be best remembered for Iron Butterfly's 1968 17-minute rock opus 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', in which he has a 2-3 minute solo. By his own admission, that iconic track was even used by Ringo Starr for The Beatle's iconic 'Abbey Road' album. It's a rich legacy, which is why social media had a hard time believing Bushy was no more. Tributes flowed in from fellow musicians and fans, some of which are mentioned below.

Ron Bushy during a performance at The Canyon Club in California on August 20, 2018. (Iron Butterfly/Twitter)

'Heavens just got an extended drum solo'

"Crushed that we lost another great drummer. He autographed the sheet music to his signature hit. Farewell, Ron Bushy," one person tweeted. Another said, "RIP Ron Bushy. That was one hell of a drum solo. #Inagadadavida."




One person commented, "Damn... the heavens just got an extended drum solo. RIP Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy... In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was one of the first rock records I ever got as a youngster...damn." Another user tweeted, "Rest in peace, Ron Bushy. That was one hell of a jam, dude." One user shared, "The first, longest, and most important "driveway moment" of my life occurred when I was returning home from work at age 16 and first heard the long version (with the extended drum solo) of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on the radio. I owe that to the now late Ron Bushy."





Earlier this year, Bushy donated his iconic drum set, used to record 'In-A-Gadda-Da Vida' and his other hits to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The set, the first clear acrylic drum kit in the world, was created in 1969 by the company Bill Zickos. 

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