Former Cream drummer Ginger Baker died today (Oct. 6) at the age of 80. As word of Baker’s passing began to spread, some of his fellow musicians took to social media to share their memories and condolences.
Fans were alerted to Baker’s health woes recently, with the musician’s family announcing he was “critically ill in hospital.” The drummer had battled significant issues in the past, most notably facing “serious heart problems” in 2016 that eventually led to surgery. Baker’s previous maladies also included a respiratory infection in 2013 and an on-again, off-again heroin addiction that reportedly lasted almost 30 years.
The drummer emerged as a rock powerhouse in the ’60s, founding Cream alongside Eric Clapton. Together with bassist Jack Bruce, the trio crafted a revolutionary hard rock sound that made them both commercially successful and highly influential. Though only active between 1966 and 1968, Cream were able to able to churn out three albums — Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire. A fourth and final LP, Goodbye, was released in Feb. 1969, months after the group had broken up.
Baker’s post-Cream career included a stint with the supergroup Blind Faith, his personally constructed band Ginger Baker’s Air Force, extensive solo material and work alongside influential Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.
The drummer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside his Cream bandmates in 1993. The group also briefly reunited in 2005, performing shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London and New York’s Madison Square Garden.