|Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack died at his home in Dubois, Wyoming, on Monday, March 12, 2012. Photo courtesy of D. Baron Media Relations.|
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A much-loved musician who for years was part of the famed rock act the Doobie Brothers has died.
Michael Hossack died Monday at his home in Dubois, Wyo., according to friends and family. He was 65 years old.
Hossack had battled cancer and finally succumbed to the disease with family by his side.
Known to friends as “Big Mike,” Hossack had local connections, having lived for many years in Lake County, where his children attended school.
Hossack was born in Paterson, New Jersey, on Oct. 17, 1946, and began playing the drums at age 12, according to his biography on the Doobie Brothers Web page, www.doobiebrothers.net .
He would go on to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and upon returning home to New Jersey in 1969 was set to pursue a law enforcement career when a friend convinced him to audition for Mourning Reign, a California-based band.
He got the job and would move to California with the band. Mourning Reign would fold but a new opportunity arose when in 1971 the Doobie Brothers invited Hossack to join them, drumming alongside founding drummer John Hartman.
His work can be heard on the Doobie Brothers classics like “Listen to The Music,” “Rockin’ Down The Highway,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “China Grove,” “Long Train Runnin” and “Blackwater,” the band's first No. 1 single.
Hossack left the band in 1973, drumming with other bands and becoming a partner of the North Hollywood recording studio Chateau Recorders.
He and the Doobie Brothers reunited in 1987 for a series of concerns benefiting Vietnam War veterans, which led eventually to the band reforming.
Due to his health, Hossack had been on leave from the group since 2010.
In July of that year, Hossack had posted a message to fans thanking them for their support and messages. “It certainly helps to keep my spirits up during my time away.”
He had looked forward to returning to playing with the band. “It’s been hard not touring with the band but I have incredible support from my family, the Doobie Brothers, and all my friends out there. I can’t thank you enough for everything. All my best wishes to you all, and thanks for thinking of me.”
In late January, the Doobie Brothers – which have kept up a busy touring schedule – released a statement on Hossack, saying he was improving slowly. “He sends his regards to all our fans.”
A lover of the outdoors, motorcycle riding and hunting, Hossack had spent his final years based in Wyoming.
He leaves behind son Mike Jr., daughter Eric Rose Oliver, and friends and fans the world over.
See Hossack and the Doobie Brothers performing “Listen to the Music” at Wolf Trap in 2004 in the clip below (Hossack is on the drum set at the far right).