In a tribute honoring the longtime friend, Metallica confirmed Ray passed last Wednesday after a bout of pneumonia.
Despite admittedly not wholly understanding his son Cliff's enthusiasm for heavy metal in the '80s, Ray completely supported Cliff's musical career, understanding that he was doing something special.
After Cliff's tragic death in a 1986 tour bus accident, Ray became a care-taker of his son's legacy, along with Cliff's surviving band mates.
"For 38 years, we were lucky enough to have the energy, wisdom and light of Ray in our lives," Metallica said in a statement via its website. "His eternal youth with his drive, positivity and relentless smile were both incredibly powerful and stirringly honest."
Metallica pays tribute to Cliff at every live show. The band explained that Ray would regularly check in to provide positivity.
"From coast to coast and overseas too, Ray's beaming face would regularly greet us, offering warmth and anchor to our travels, and when it came to the entire Metallica family, band, crew and fans, he viewed us all as his own. That he has passed away leaves an indefinable feeling of sadness and loss, but equally, we know Ray wouldn't want us 'moping around on our darn keisters' for too long."
Ray's generous spirit went beyond his son's former band mates. In a 2017 interview, Ray revealed that since the '80s he's been donating his son's royalties to a musicians scholarship in Cliff's name at the bassist's former high school.
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