Sandy West Cause of Death: How the Runaways Drummer Lost Her Battle with Lung Cancer

Sandy West was a pioneer in the history of rock music. She was the drummer and co-founder of the Runaways, the first teenage all-girl hard rock band to achieve worldwide fame in the 1970s. She was also a singer, songwriter and guitarist who influenced many female musicians to pursue their dreams. But her life was cut short by a devastating disease that claimed her life in 2006. What was Sandy West’s cause of death and how did she cope with her illness?

The Runaways: A Groundbreaking Band

Sandy West was born on July 10, 1959 in Long Beach, California. She developed a passion for music at an early age and started playing the drums when she was nine years old. She proved to have a natural talent and quickly became a proficient drummer. By the age of 13, she was the only girl in local bands who played at teenage parties.

In 1975, she met producer Kim Fowley, who gave her the phone number of another young musician in the area, guitarist Joan Jett. The two girls hit it off and decided to form an all-female rock band. They recruited Lita Ford on lead guitar, Cherie Currie on vocals and Jackie Fox on bass. They named themselves the Runaways and began to rehearse and perform in clubs and bars.

The Runaways were a sensation in the male-dominated rock scene. They played hard rock with attitude and energy, singing about rebellion, sex and drugs. They were also known for their provocative outfits and stage antics. They attracted both fans and critics, who either loved them or hated them.

The Runaways had more success overseas than in their home country. They toured extensively in Japan, where they were treated like superstars and sold out arenas. They also released four studio albums and a live album between 1976 and 1979. Some of their most popular songs were “Cherry Bomb”, “Queens of Noise”, “Rock and Roll” and “Born to Be Bad”.

The Breakup and the Aftermath

The Runaways disbanded in 1979 due to personal and professional conflicts. Sandy West tried to continue her career as a solo artist and formed her own band, the Sandy West Band. She released an EP called “The Beat is Back” in 1982, but it did not achieve much success. She also played with other acts in southern California, but none of them lasted long.

Sandy West struggled to make a living as a musician and had to work in other jobs to support herself. She worked mostly in construction, but also spent some time as a bartender and a veterinary assistant. She later claimed that Kim Fowley had not paid the members of the Runaways what they deserved and that he was the reason she was broke.

Sandy West remained close with Joan Jett, who had become a successful solo artist. The two performed together on several occasions throughout the years. Sandy also appeared in a documentary about the Runaways called “Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways” in 2004, where she shared her memories and experiences with the band.

The Diagnosis and the Death

In 2005, Sandy West was diagnosed with lung cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but they did not stop the disease from spreading. She continued to play music until she was too weak to do so. She also received support from her family, friends and fans, who organized benefit concerts and fundraisers for her.

Sandy West died on October 21, 2006 at the age of 47 in San Dimas, California. Her death was mourned by many people who admired her talent and spirit. Joan Jett issued a statement saying that Sandy was “one of my best friends” and that “she taught me how to play rock ‘n’ roll drums”. Lita Ford said that Sandy was “the greatest female drummer in the history of rock ‘n’ roll”. Cherie Currie said that Sandy was “a woman with heart”. Many other musicians paid tribute to Sandy by covering her songs or dedicating performances to her.

Sandy West’s legacy lives on through her music and her influence on generations of female rockers. She was a trailblazer who broke barriers and stereotypes with her drumming skills and her passion for rock ‘n’ roll. She was also a fighter who never gave up on her dreams despite the challenges she faced. She will always be remembered as one of the original Runaways who rocked the world.

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