Sonny Barger: Hells Angels founder and sixties counter-culture icon dies at 83

'If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone,' a message from his Facebook account read


                            Sonny Barger: Hells Angels founder and sixties counter-culture icon dies at 83
Sonny Barger autographs a copy of Post magazine during an event at a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership August 23, 2003 in Quincy, Illinois (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger has died after a long battle with throat cancer. The counter-culture icon was 83 and reportedly breathed his last surrounded by "wife Zorana, as well as my loved ones.” His death was announced via a social media post, which was shared on his Facebook account.

The message read: “If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone.  I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing. I’ve lived a long and good life filled with adventure. And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club. Although I’ve had a public persona for decades, i’ve mostly enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family, and close friends.”

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“Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer. But also know that in the end, I was surrounded by what really matters: My wife, Zorana, as well as my loved ones. Keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honor. Sonny HAMCO,” it added.

The post attracted a number of messages paying tribute to Barger. One comment read, “What a sad, sad day for me, thank you Mr Barger and RIP.” Another comment read, “RIP Sonny, you were a true pioneer for people who enjoy motorcycles, brotherhood and freedom. Thank you for everything!” “Rest in Peace, to a legend! Ride free, Sonny! Sincerest condolences, to his wife, and family, and his Red & White Brothers! 81 Supporter, for life!” the third comment added.

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Sonny Barger, founder of the Oakland, California charter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, attends a party August 23, 2003 in Quincy, Illinois. The party was hosted by the Midwest Percenters motorcycle club in Quincy. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

A fan of his said, “RIP sonny, so sorry & deep condolences to zorena & all, Spread your wings & ride free beautiful xx💙💙.” The second fan stated: “I had the pleasure of meeting sonny,at the bulldog bash in 02, he signed my book, and we had a photo taken, wonderful memory. R.I.P.”

“RIP Sonny Barger! ❤️🤍 The MC Life Has Lost A Legend! Ride In Paradise! It was A pleasure knowing you. Gone But Never Forgotten! My heart goes out to the Hells Angels Family! ❤️🤍😔,” a user commented below the Facebook post. “Rip brother!!! Fly high as u were one of the originals of this club! The most respect to and ur family! This club will forever grieve for ur loss! Thank u for all the devotion and all u sacrificed for 81! My heart aches!! A legend built that built the rules and honor we live bye!!! I will always honor ur legacy and live by it!!!!!!” another user added.

As per reports, Barger’s way of life was unconventional since his early days. As a kid, he shifted to Oakland, California, but did not take a formal education because he slapped his teacher. At the age of 16, he enrolled himself in the army using a fake birth certificate but there also, his trickery was discovered and as a result, he was thrown out with an honorable discharge. In 2008, he had said: “I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to live it.”

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Members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, with wives and friends, order dinner at a restaurant August 23, 2003 in Quincy, Illinois. The motorcycle club was in Quincy for a book signing event and party honoring Sonny Barger (2nd-R/back to camera), founder of the Oakland, California charter of the Hells Angels. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

A Daily Mail report stated that Barger had claimed in one of his autobiographies that the Hells Angels was actually a small club in San Francisco. However, its days ended when he and his group members used the name for their club — originally called the Oakland Hells Angels.

Soon, Barger reportedly went on to become the leader of the group before becoming its ​​national president. He was also the “most famous member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, which was founded in San Bernardino, California, on March 17, 1948.” “His reputation as the two-fisted granddaddy of the world's oldest, largest and most notorious motorcycle club, has spread far beyond the biker community, attracting both hero worshipers and detractors on the way,” the Daily Mail report added.

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