Hells Angels founding member Sonny Barger dies aged 83 from cancer
Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger dies of cancer at age 83
- Sonny Barger has passed away after battling cancer, surrounded by his wife and loved ones
- The motorcyclist from Oakland, California, helped found the Hells Angels group in the 1950s
- He had many clashes with the law, but defeated murder and racketeering charges
Sonny Barger, the founder of motorcycle club Hells Angels, has died aged 83 after battling cancer.
The California outlaw, who was involved in drugs and protection rackets, died surrounded by his wife Zorana and other loved ones.
A post shared on his Facebook page after his death included a farewell message from the motorcyclist to his legions of fans after 65 years of being a member of the club.
Sonny Barger, founder of Hells Angels motorcycle club, has died aged 83 after battling cancer
The California outlaw, who was involved in drugs and protection rackets, died surrounded by his wife Zorana and other loved ones
The message read: ‘If you’re reading this message, you know I’m gone. I requested that this note be posted immediately after my death.
‘I’ve had a long and good life full of adventure. And I have had the privilege of being part of a great club.
“Although I have been a public persona for decades, I have especially enjoyed special time with my club brethren, my family and close friends.
“Please know that I passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer. But also know that I was ultimately surrounded by what really matters: my wife, Zorana, as well as my loved ones.
“Hold your head high, stay loyal, stay free, and always value honor.”
Barger moved to Oakland, California as a child and enlisted in the military as a teenager, but soon became interested in motorcycle clubs.
A post shared on his Facebook page after his death included a farewell message from the motorcyclist to his legions of fans after 65 years as a member of the club
He says in one of his autobiographies that the Hells Angels were a small San Francisco club that got out of hand when he and other bikers decided to take the name and started the Oakland Hells Angels, the club’s main charter.
He became the club’s national president and helped the club grow into the international organization it is today.
But he had frequent clashes with the law, spent several periods in prison, but also avoided longer sentences after he defeated a number of serious charges in court.
In 1972, Barger and three others were acquitted of murder after a Texas drug dealer was murdered in Oakland and a house was set on fire.
He was also released on extortion charges in a split sentence, while nine others were convicted.
In his book Hell’s Angel, Barger claims that he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but only served five years and was addicted to “bicycles, booze, girls and good times.”
After a rival gang stole Barger’s Harley Davidson, he went hunting for the person responsible, knocking him unconscious, breaking his fingers one by one with a hammer.