Hells Angels Founder Sonny Barger Dead at 83
Sad news for the biker community today, as Sonny Barger, founder of the notorious Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels, has died. He was 83.
The following message was posted to the infamous motorcycle club leader’s official Facebook page:
“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.
“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.
Born Ralph Hubert Barger, Jr. on October 8th, 1938, in 1957 Sonny founded the original Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels. This would go on to become the most famous chapter of this outlaw biker club.
Barger was part of the security detail at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival on December 6th, 1969. During the Rolling Stones’ set, Angels member Alan Pessaro stabbed Meredith Hunter to death, claiming that Hunter had come at him with a pistol. A jury found that Pessaro acted in self-defense, but for many, Hunter’s killing was a sign that the Summer of Love was officially over.
As reported by Consequence of Sound, Barger later became a consultant on several motorcycle films. He had a small part in Jack Nicholson’s Hells Angels on Wheels, and, nearly five decades later, starred as a recurring character on Kurt Sutter’s biker drama Sons of Anarchy.
Sonny is survived by his widow, Zorana Barger.