Following the death of Cliff in a tour bus crash in 1986, Ray remained an important part of the Metallica organization. His daughter Connie, who announced the news yesterday (Jan. 19).
“It is with incredible sorrow that we said farewell to Cliff’s dad Ray Burton last week,” Metallica’s statement said, “For 38 years, we were lucky enough to have the energy, wisdom and light of Ray in our lives. His eternal youth with his drive, positivity and relentless smile were both incredibly powerful and stirringly honest.”
The band continued: “From coast to coast and overseas too, Ray’s beaming face would regularly greet us, offering warmth and anchor to our travels, and when it came to the entire Metallica family, band, crew and fans, he viewed us all as his own. That he has passed away leaves an indefinable feeling of sadness and loss, but equally, we know Ray wouldn’t want us ‘moping around on our darn keisters’ for too long.
“So, in honor of him, and the kind of man he was, we also want to truly celebrate the 94 years of life Ray gave everyone, knowing in certainty that a glint of his light, wisdom and energy will always be with us all wherever we go.” The messaged ended: “We love you Ray, rest in peace.”
Each band member also wrote their own tribute. James Hetfield‘s “Mr. Ray Burton” takes the form of rhyming song lyrics:
“To his last breath, I’ve not met a more positive man
And to his son there was not a more loyal fan
So he leaves the material world to be with his sons and wife
I feel so very blessed to have had him grace my life
In earthly form, his end of the line
Mr. Ray Burton is a hero of mine”
Ray’s stepdaughter Casey appeared in a tribute video to tell Metallica fans that Ray had died of pneumonia, and that bassist Robert Trujillo had been in the hospital to offer support during the last week of his life.
“He got a cold, and I took him to the hospital, and for seven days I stayed by this side hoping that he could recover,” Casey said, “He’s a really strong guy – he’s always recovered – but unfortunately he’s lived on 35 percent of his heart for the last several years. We knew someday his poor little heart would not be able to keep up. … He passed away surrounded by my family.”
She continued: “We want to take this time to tell you how much all of you want to Ray. Every concert I took him to, every event he attended, every time you came up to him and you said to him, ‘My name is… this is where I’m from, and this is what your son meant to me,’ that brought his son back to him every time. The smile on his face every time we attended a Metallica concert… he loved every one of you. He loved James [Hetfield], Lars [Ulrich], Kirk [Hammett], Jason [Newsted] and Rob, and Dave [Mustaine].”
Casey offered special thanks to Trujillo plus Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin and his former bandmate Jim Martin for “being beside me for the last seven days and for giving me the support I needed in the hospital.” She vowed: “We are going to continue to honor Cliff and Ray. Ray has asked me to please continue.”