Sonny Barger, founding member of the mythical Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and who for decades was the visible face of the controversial motorcycle gang, has died at the age of 83, according to his Facebook page.
With their leather vests with the winged skull logo on their backs and the roar of their engines as they traveled in numerous gangs on American highways, the Hells Angels were for years a symbol of terror for many Americans, a banner of the counter culture life.
Barger, born 1938 as Ralph Hubert Barger, He was a founding member of the original group of the international motorcycle club, based in Oakland, in the state of California, in 1957.
An immediate personal message was posted on his Facebook profile: “If you are reading this message, then you will know that I am gone… Please know that I passed away peacefully after a brief battle with cancer. Although I have been a public figure for decades, I have mostly enjoyed special time with my friends. brothers of the club, my family and close friends”Barger said in the post.
As authorized branches of the club were established across the United States and as controversies surrounding the group’s activities, many of which were illicit, escalated, Barger acted as a spokesman, defending his lifestyle outside of law and order. .
Barger was present at the Rolling Stones’ famous free concert in Altmont, California, in 1969, for which the Hells Angels had been hired as a security force, using their bicycles as a makeshift barrier in front of the stage.
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The rebellious musical journey on the Altamont Speedway rural circuit is tragically remembered for the violent death of Meredith Hunter, a young black man who was beaten and stabbed by members of the Hells Angelsafter he brandished a gun near the stage while the Stones were playing.
By this time, the motorcycle gang had already entered the
popular culture as a violent fraternity, through movies like 1967’s “Hells Angels on Wheels,” starring a young Jack Nicholson, and in a best-selling book simply titled “Hells Angels,” a thorough profile written in 1966 by Hunter S. Thompson, who spent a year with the main group.
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According to the Washington Post, Barger faced several charges of possession and use of weapons and along with a 1988 conviction for conspiracy to kill rival gang members, which earned him more than a decade in prison.
Due to throat cancer, his vocal cords were removed years later, forcing him to use an electronic device to speak.
Barger also had a role in the popular FX television series ‘Sons of Anarchy’, the first season of which was released in 2008, about a fictional biker gang similar to the Angels, playing a character named Lenny ‘The Pimp’. Janowitz.