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Founding member of the Ramones dies in Queens at 65

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The last surviving original member of Queens’ legendary punk band, the Ramones, has died at 65.

Thomas Erdelyi, commonly known by his stage name Tommy Ramone, had been living in Ridgewood at the time of his death, which was announced on the band’s Facebook page Friday.

“We are saddened to announce the passing of Tommy Ramone (ne Erdelyi), the original drummer for the Ramones, earlier today,” a statement on the band’s Facebook page said.

Erdelyi was born in Hungary and grew up in Forest Hills, where he met his bandmates, Johnny, Dee Dee and Joey.

The band played some of their first shows in Manhattan’s now defunct CBGB’s club in the late 1970’s before signing to Sire Records and releasing their debut album in 1976.

Erdelyi played drums on the band’s first three albums. He was then replaced by Marky Ramone, but continued to serve as the band’s manager.

He had recently been receiving care at a hospice after going through treatment for bile duct cancer, according to Variety Magazine.

The three other original members of the band died between 2001 and 2004.

Widely regarded as punk rock pioneers, the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” Erdelyi said in 1978. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.”

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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