Sonny Barger, the Hells Angels founder and Sons of Anarchy actor, died Wednesday of cancer, per Deadline. He was 83.
Barger actually announced that his death was looming in a Facebook post.
“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,” he wrote.
“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”
Barger became the face of Hells Angels after serving as a founder member of the organization’s Oakland chapter. He was also among the bikers who provided security at the at the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont concert, which became bloody and violent.
“Barger had written six books, including his autobiography Hell’s Angel — The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, in which he put the blame for the disastrous Altamont concert squarely on the Stones. The Angels had been hired by the band to provide security, a decision the Stones would regret: The bikers beat audience members with billiard sticks, punched and knocked out Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin and attacked (in self-defense, they claimed) a pistol-wielding 18-year-old Stones fan named Meredith Hunter. One of the Angels stabbed and killed Hunter but was acquitted after claiming self-defense.”
“Barger also tangled with the law over the years,” Deadline wrote. “He was acquitted in the 1972 murder of a drug dealer but convicted in 1973 and 1988 on narcotics and weapons charges and serving about four years for each conviction.”
Along with all that, he still managed to appear in multiple movies and documentaries, including serving as a consulting producer on Sons of Anarchy, offering tips on biker culture.
He was was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1983 and prostate cancer in 2010, though it remains unclear what type of cancer caused his death.