The First Family of Rock is facing another trial. --------------------------------------------------------- Former Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone is currently in a Los Angeles hospital battling prostate cancer. Speaking with Rolling Stone, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone stated, "Johnny's been a champ in confronting this, but at this point I think the chances are slim." He continued, "John never smoked cigarettes, he wasn't a heavy drinker and he was always into his health." Unbeknownst to the world at large, Johnny Ramone, whose birth name is John Cummings, was diagnosed with the disease four years ago, and has since undergone extensive chemotherapy. Marky explained his motivations for revealing Johnny's fight with cancer now: "I've been getting so much email from people and from papers and magazines wanting to know what was up I had to take it upon myself to say something, because eventually John won't be in any condition to say or do anything." He went on to say that the cancer has already begun to spread to other parts of the body. According to Marky, however, Johnny, who is 55 years old, is remaining positive. "He was talking about the positive things the Ramones accomplished: getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, how our music is being accepted at this point. It put a smile on his face. Knowing John, he'll fight this horrible disease to the end. Everybody is wishing the best and hoping the best. We'll stand by him." The Ramones are widely credited as among the forefathers of American punk rock, and frankly, they've influenced more musicians than we've got time to talk about. This comes as an especially difficult blow to fans as Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) died from lymphatic cancer in 2001, and bassist Dee Dee Ramone (born Douglas Colvin) died in 2002 from an overdose of heroin-- an addiction he'd battled for more than 20 years. When the Ramones broke up in 1996, Johnny Ramone virtually retired from music, reportedly even going as far as to sell all of his guitars and amps. Although the Ramones' other members, including Dee Dee, Joey, late-era bassist C.J., and Marky (who is currently the drummer for the Misfits) went on to release solo albums and become involved with other musical projects, Johnny was content to stay home and watch baseball. In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone, Johnny expressed his desire to never have to deal with the rigors of touring: "I didn't want to go back on tour under any circumstances. If they could have come up with an offer that I couldn't refuse for one week of jobs, somewhere in the world, I would have thought about it." We at Pitchfork would like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes to Johnny and his family. Source: pitchforkmedia.com Good luck Johnny.