Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger dies at 83

Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger dies at 83
Ted Soqui
·2 min read

The founder of the Hells Angels Sonny Barger has died at 83 after a battle with cancer, according to a social media statement and his former attorney.

A statement on Barger's Facebook page notes his death.

His former attorney, Fritz Clapp, told NBC News in a phone call Thursday he died peacefully at his home Wednesday night following a bout with liver cancer.

The statement on his Facebook page said he's lived a long and adventurous life and is survived by his wife, Zorana.

Image: Sonny Barger, right, and an unidentified member from the New York chapter stand in front of a group of Hell's Angels members on motorcycles. (Bettmann Archive / Getty Images file)
Image: Sonny Barger, right, and an unidentified member from the New York chapter stand in front of a group of Hell's Angels members on motorcycles. (Bettmann Archive / Getty Images file)

“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,” the statement said. “I’ve lived a long and good life filled with adventure. And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club. 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. Keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honor."

The post ended with Barger signing off as Sonny and noting HAMCO, an acronym for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Oakland.

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Barger was born Ralph Hubert Barger Jr. in Modesto, California. He formed the Hells Angels in 1957 in Oakland. He has also served as a technical consultant for films about the Hells Angels including "Hell’s Angels on Wheels" and "Hell’s Angels ‘69," movies he appeared in.

Barger’s book "Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club" details his life and experiences with the notorious club. In it, he shed light on the history and evolution of the Hells Angels and included stories about their run-ins with the law.

Barger also wrote "Credos from the Road" and co-authored "Ridin' High, Livin' Free: Hell-raising Motorcycle Stories."