Sonny Barger, Hells Angels Founder and Biker Outlaw, Dead at 83

by Amy Myers
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Biker icon and founder of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Sonny Barger has died at the age of 83. Barger has known for following his own rules and fearlessly facing danger. He spearheaded a new era of outlaws and in effect created an unbreakable brotherhood.

On his official Facebook page, Sonny Barger released a statement that 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.”

According to the post, the cause of death was cancer, but no other details were available.

Barger began Hells Angels in 1957, quickly attracting like-minded bikers that live by the road and aren’t afraid to break a law or two when the situation gets hairy. The unofficial uniform of the gang, which has inspired many a film and TV show, tends to be long beards, leather, big tattoos and of course, menacing motorcycles that dominate the highways. Today, Hells Angels is now a corporate establishment with chapters in big cities all across the country.

The Hells Angels have faced quite a few major charges in the past, ranging from drug distribution, weapons charges and money laundering. Despite this, though, the motor club seems to be as prominent as ever.

Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels’ Most Infamous Story

Sonny Barger has even detailed his run-ins with law enforcement in his autobiography, Hell’s Angel — The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. In it, Barger even detailed an incident with the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards at a concert in 1969. Already, the crowd was getting rowdy, pushing against the Hells Angels to get closer to the stage. Without hesitation, the bikers pushed right back, fists and cue sticks at the ready. But this was far from the end of the fight.

According to the Hells Angels founder, the guitarist delayed the band’s performance in order to “work up” the crowd. So, a concert-goer named Meredith Hunter decided to take matters into his own hands and stick a pistol in the Richards’ ribs. Luckily, the Hells Angels were there as security measures and were able to detain Hunter.

Unfortunately, the motorcycle club didn’t come away unscathed. Hunter managed to fire a shot before the bikers descended on them, grazing one member. But the concert-goer suffered the worse fate. One Hells Angel fatally stabbed the man, earning a murder charge. However, the courts later acquitted him, believing the incident to be self-defense.

The Hells Angels’ presence at the concert soon became one of the group’s most famous stories, a testament to their grit and power.

Outsider.com