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Hells Angels Founder Sonny Barger Dies Aged 83

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Hells Angels Founder Sonny Barger Dies Aged 83

Sonny Barger, founder of the iconic motorcycle club Hells Angels, has passed away after being diagnosed with cancer.

Barger's death was announced in a post on his Facebook page which told viewers that 'if you are reading this message, you'll know that I'm gone'.

The biker, who lived in California, passed away at the age of 83 on Wednesday (29 June) while surrounded by his wife Zorana and other members of his family.

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Barger became the president of Hells Angels in the late 50s. Credit: Alamy
Barger became the president of Hells Angels in the late 50s. Credit: Alamy

Barger's Facebook post explained the Hells Angels founder had asked that his message be posted 'immediately after [his] passing' and assured he had lived a 'long and good life filled with adventure'.

"And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club," the post continued. "Although I’ve had a public persona for decades, I've mostly enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family, and close friends. 

"Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer. But also know that in the end, I was surrounded by what really matters: My wife, Zorana, as well as my loved ones."

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Barger concluded his message by encouraging his fans to 'keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honour'.

The biker launched the Oakland Hells Angels and is often credited for expanding the group into an organisation which spread across international borders.

Hells Angels is now an international organisation. Credit: Alamy
Hells Angels is now an international organisation. Credit: Alamy

The Hells Angels celebrated its 65th anniversary in April, and in his autobiography Barger revealed he had been inspired to start the group after watching the 1953 crime movie The Wild One, which starred Marlon Brando as a biker whose gang got kicked out of a town after arriving for a biker competition.

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Facebook users have shared their condolences after news of Barger's passing was announced, with one writing: "The motorcycle world has lost a great man. Rest in Peace Sonny. Love and Respect Always. Condolences to family and friends."

Barger became the national president of the Hell's Angels in the late 1950s, and in 1972 was acquitted of murdering a Texas drug dealer and setting a home on fire. The following year he was sentenced to ten years to life behind bars in 1973 after being convicted of possession of narcotics and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Barger was diagnosed with throat cancer in the early 1980s after having previously smoked for years. He later began to advocate against smoking as a result.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week 

Featured Image Credit: Sonny Barger/Facebook/Alamy

Topics: News, Cancer, US News, Health

Emily Brown
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