Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group’s last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday. He was 61.
Mitchell was a powerful force on the Hendrix band’s 1967 debut album “Are You Experienced?” as well as the trio’s albums “Electric Ladyland” and “Axis: Bold As Love.” He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as “Fire” and “Manic Depression.”
The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.
Hendrix died in 1970. Bass player Noel Redding died in 2003.
An employee at Portland’s Benson Hotel called police after discovering Mitchell’s body.
Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.
“He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend,” said Janie Hendrix, chief executive of the Experience Hendrix Tour and Jimi Hendrix’ stepsister. “His role in shaping the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience cannot be underestimated.”
Bob Merlis, a spokesman for the tour, said Mitchell had stayed in Portland for a four-day vacation and planned to leave Wednesday.
“It was a devastating surprise,” Merlis said. “Nobody drummed like he did.”
He said he saw Mitchell perform two weeks ago in Los Angeles, and the drummer appeared to be healthy and upbeat.
Merlis said the tour was designed to bring together veteran musicians who had known Hendrix — like Mitchell — and younger artists, such as Grammy-nominated winner Jonny Lang, who have been influenced by him.