Sonny Barger Dies: Social Media Reacts to the Hells Angels Founder’s Passing

by Sean Griffin

Legendary biker and founder of Hells Angel Motorcycle club Sonny Barger died Wednesday, June 29th.

“Discover your limits by exceeding them,” was a famous and fan-favorite Barger quote.

Barger died at the age of 83 in his California home. His lawyer, Fritz Clapp, confirmed Barger had liver cancer. Barger’s official Facebook account released a statement. It read, “If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone. I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing.”

As the Washington Post writes, “For decades, the stocky, muscular Mr. Barger stood not only as the founder of the original Oakland, Calif., Angels chapter in 1957, but also for decades after that as the public face of a nationwide counterculture tribe of bearded, denim-clad road warriors memorialized in literature and film — roaring down the open highway and through crossroads towns, shocking the locals with their boisterous, often menacing presence.”

The Post continues, writing: “It was a rowdy, frequently lawless brotherhood bound, in no particular order, by machismo, tattoos, winged death-head insignia, booze, dope, rides to nowhere on thundering Harley-Davidson hogs and a lust for the unfettered freedom found on the open road.”

Undeniably, Sonny Barger personified what it meant to be a Hells Angel.

Fans have taken to social media, primarily Twitter, to react to the icon’s death.

Twitter user @Sergyrozay honored the legend by reciting of his many quotes. “‘Keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honor.’ – Sonny Barger.”

Another person wrote, “Rest In Peace to Sonny Barger… loved and hated by many, but a legend in his own right. #HellsAngels.”

Other Reactions to Sonny Barger’s Death

George Christie (@georgeFPC on Twitter), is a former Hells Angel and associate of Barger, according to his own website. Like Barger, he ventured into writing after his time with the club. On the about section of his website, Christie writes that “as a club leader in Ventura, [I] became one of the most powerful voices in the national Hells Angels organization, and spent three decades battling the law, rivals and members of [my] own club while building the club’s daily business operations.” Christie shared a heartfelt tribute to Barger.

In his tweet, he alludes to having unresolved “personal problems” with Sonny Barger.

One person replied back to Christie’s tweet. They noted further, “Glad you posted – didn’t know – sad news. Read his book, and one of yours (Exile….) – important history for those that understand. As you said, “You’ve never really experienced this country unless you’ve done it on a motorcycle.”