Ray Burton, the father of late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, has passed away.
Cliff Burton’s sister Connie confirmed the news on Facebook.
Connie revealed that her father had passed away last Wednesday. She was not specific of the cause of death.
Cliff died on Sept. 27, 1986 in Sweden when the tour bus carrying the band, according to the driver, hit a patch of black ice and skidded off the road and ultimately flipping over. Cliff Burton, who was asleep in the top bunk, was thrown through a window and the bus landed on top of him.
Over the next three decades, Metallica rose to become one of the biggest bands in the world, which increased interest in the three albums they recorded in Cliff Burton’s lifetime. The royalties have provided his family with a steady income stream, which Ray believed validated the faith his son had in the band.
Last year, Ray Burton donated a substantial amount of his son Cliff’s royalties to music student scholarships in the name of son Cliff Burton.
Although Ray Burton preferred big band music to metal, he still attended every Metallica concert he could.
“Music should be entertaining to you, and they certainly are, James does a fantastic job as a singer and the frontman. He’s just an absolute natural. I remember one time asking him if he was a cheerleader in high school. Got a big laugh, and gosh, he was anything but that.” – Ray Burton
Cliff Burton joined Metallica in 1982 and performed on the band’s first three studio albums: Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. He also received a posthumous writing credit for the song “To Live Is to Die” from the band’s fourth studio album, …And Justice for All
In 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Ray Burton spoke at the ceremony on behalf of his son.
Ray Burton’s Acceptance Speech (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction 2009)
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“I just want to thank the Hall of Fame selection committee for selecting these wonderful young men behind me. They’re a great group and the thing I’ve always liked about ’em is, you see them play in person and you just immediately get a big smile on your face. It’s a degree of happiness that they have a great ability to perform that way. … But there is one person that I want to mention, a person that I think was Metallica’s and certainly Cliff Burton’s greatest fan. And that was Cliff’s mother Jan.”