Legendary band the Stampeders suffered a huge loss this week with the passing of bassist Ronnie King.

The longtime member and co-founder of the Calgary band passed away on Monday at the age of 76.

A Facebook posting by the band's drummer Kim Berly made the announcement on Tuesday morning of March 5.

It is with sadness and love that we must announce the passing of our longtime friend and band mate Cornelis Van Sprang, known to most as Ronnie King.

Ronnie died yesterday at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary.

The sudden drastic turn in his health took us all by surprise. As little as three weeks ago he was looking forward to doing one final tour with The Stampeders and was in a positive and optimistic state of mind. Sadly, it was not to be.

Ronnie, Rich, and I began making music together in the spring of 1966 and shortly thereafter left Calgary to pursue the dream of pop stardom in Toronto. The dream became reality five years later with the release of “Carry Me” followed by our breakout hit “Sweet City Woman”.

For the last fifty-six years, the Stampeders have entertained Canadians from coast to coast with Ronnie’s irrepressible humor and willingness to do anything for a laugh setting the tone.

We, who shared the stage of life with him, were, no doubt, the recipients of an extra-large dose of his larger-than-life persona, and we will miss him.

The tour that was intended to be his final bow will now, instead, be our tribute to, and celebration of, our beautiful friend and partner.

The show must go on… Ronnie wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tributes have been pouring in from not just Canadian musicians and fans but from people around the world.

The Stampeders were formed in Calgary by Ronnie King, Kim Berly and Rich Dodson and made a name for themselves with their debut album with the favourite Sweet City Woman.  They also went on to write and record many Canadian classics such as Carry Me, Wild Eyes, Devil You, Playing in the Band and Hit the Road Jack.

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