In a somber note for rock enthusiasts worldwide, we bid farewell to the rhythmic force that was James Kottak. The former drummer of legendary bands Scorpions and Kingdom Come took his final bow on Tuesday morning in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 61.

While the cause of his passing remains undisclosed, the reverberations of his life and music continue to echo through the hearts of fans and fellow musicians alike.

Kottak’s daughter, Tobi, shared the heartbreaking news with the world, and his former comrades from Scorpions paid a heartfelt tribute on Facebook. In their touching post, they remembered him as not just a remarkable musician but also as a beloved family man. Their message, accompanied by a poignant black-and-white photograph of Kottak, read, “Very sad news… our dear friend and drummer for 20 years, James Kottak, has passed at the age of 61. James was a wonderful human being, a great musician, and a loving family man. He was our Brother from another Mother and will be truly missed. Rock ‘n Roll Forever. RIP James.”

James Kottak’s legacy in the world of rock is undeniable. His drumming prowess propelled Scorpions through two memorable decades, from 1996 to 2016, earning him the title of the band’s longest-running member. Prior to his tenure with Scorpions, he made a name for himself as the original drummer for the Led Zeppelin-inspired band Kingdom Come, from 1987 to 1995.

Kottak’s journey wasn’t confined to the stage alone. He ventured into the realm of reality television in 2012 with “Ex-Wives of Rock,” adding another layer to his multi-faceted career.

Yet, it wasn’t all a smooth ride for Kottak. He grappled openly with his battle against alcoholism, leading to a public incident in 2014 that saw him arrested for public drunkenness. This struggle ultimately led to his departure from Scorpions in 2016, as guitarist Matthias Jabs explained, “We reached the point — or he reached the point — where it was just not worth it.”

Despite the setbacks, Kottak persevered on his path to recovery. In 2018, he candidly described his journey, stating, “Over the last 10 years, I would say I was 90 percent sober, and then I’d have these struggles and I’d go through a bad two- or three-week period. So right now it’s, like I said, to use a cliché, it’s one day at a time, and I work the program.”

Born in Louisville, Kottak’s personal life also saw its share of highs and lows. His marriage to Athena, sister to the famed Tommy Lee, lasted from 1996 to 2010, with a custody battle over their son Matthew adding complexity to the mix.

In 2019, Kottak chose to share his politically conservative views through his song “Get Out of My Kountry.” He voiced his concerns, saying, “We don’t need any more outsiders. We can’t even fix the homeless problems?! When the homeless problem is solved, we take care of everyone else…”

James Kottak may have left this world, but his indomitable spirit and his contributions to the world of rock will forever resonate. As we say goodbye to a true icon, let his music continue to be the anthem of a generation, reminding us that, indeed, rock ‘n roll lives on eternally.