Sonny Barger is dead: Hells Angels Founder Has Died at the age of 83, announces His Own Death in a Pre-written message


Sonny Barger, founder of the Auckland branch of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, at an autograph session in London, 2002. Andy Drysdale/Shutterstock

Sonny Barger, founder of the Hells Angels motorcycle club in Auckland, has died. He was 83 years old.

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The biker prepared a pre-written message about his death, which was posted on Facebook on Thursday, June 30. “If you are reading this message, you know that I am no more. I asked that this note be published immediately after my death. I have lived a long and good life full of adventures. And I had the privilege of being part of an amazing club,” he wrote. “Although I have been a public person for decades, mostly I have enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family and close friends.”

The statement continued: “Please know that I passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer. But also know that, in the end, I was surrounded by what is really important: my wife Zorana, as well as my loved ones. Keep your head high, stay loyal, stay free and always appreciate honor. — Sonny.

Barger became famous after he founded and became the public face of the Hells Angels branch in Oakland, California in 1957. Among his many legal challenges, Barger has written six books inspired by his life, including Hell’s Angel. He also appeared as a guest on the TV series Sons of Anarchy as Lenny “Pimp” Janowitz in the third season finale in 2010.

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Initially, the actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1983, and as a result, his vocal cords were removed. Later in 2010, he battled prostate cancer. After having his prostate removed two years later, Barger was declared cancer-free. It is unclear what illness caused his death.

On the eve of his death, the California native reflected on his notoriety with an excerpt from his book “The Creed of Freedom from the Road.”

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“My way of life is the American way of life, which requires endless devotion to the “idea” and “practice” of freedom. Being aware of yourself and taking care of your brothers, sisters and partners means always staying alert and aware,” he wrote on Facebook in April. “As much as I look at the road ahead, I am tempted to look over my shoulder, back at the legacy I am leaving, the legacy of brotherhood, loyalty, fun and hell. But I can’t and I don’t look back. I always look forward, to the side, but never back.”