Ronnie King Obituary: A Tribute to The Stampeders’ Co-founder

Ronnie King Obituary – Ronnie King, the esteemed bassist and co-founder of The Stampeders, has passed away at the age of 76, leaving behind a legacy that resonates with fans of the iconic Canadian band.

The news of King’s death was shared on The Stampeders’ official Facebook page by drummer Kim Berly, who expressed both sadness and love for their longtime friend and bandmate. King, whose real name was Cornelis Van Sprang, passed away at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary, with his sudden decline in health catching everyone by surprise.

Just weeks before his passing, King had been looking forward to embarking on one final tour with The Stampeders, reflecting his enduring passion for music and performing. Unfortunately, fate had other plans, and his optimistic outlook was not to be fulfilled.

Ronnie King was instrumental in shaping the sound and success of The Stampeders, a band that holds a significant place in Canadian music history. Alongside Kim Berly and Rich Dodson, King co-founded the group in 1966, initially as a six-piece act. Despite some reluctance, they adopted the name The Stampeders at the suggestion of their manager before relocating from Calgary to Toronto.

The band’s breakthrough came with the release of “Sweet City Woman” in 1971, a chart-topping hit that propelled them to international fame. The song not only reached the top 10 in the United States but also earned The Stampeders multiple Juno Awards in 1972, solidifying their status as one of Canada’s most successful musical acts.

Reflecting on their heyday in a 2019 interview, King reminisced about the excitement and acclaim that accompanied their rise to stardom. Despite the band’s eventual breakup in the late 1970s, they reunited in 1992 following an unexpected invitation to appear on a television special. This reunion marked the beginning of a new chapter for The Stampeders, who resumed touring and delighting audiences around the world.

Ronnie King’s contributions to The Stampeders’ enduring legacy cannot be overstated. His passion for music, combined with his talent as a bassist and performer, helped shape the band’s distinctive sound and memorable hits. Despite the passage of time, the band’s music continues to resonate with fans, a testament to King’s enduring impact on Canadian rock music.

As The Stampeders prepare to embark on their upcoming tour, originally intended to be King’s “final bow,” they now view it as a tribute to his memory and a celebration of his life. In the words of drummer Kim Berly, “The show must go on . . . Ronnie wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Leave a Comment