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Stooges Guitaist Found Dead In Ann Arbor

Of the Oakland Press

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Ann Arbor police say it will take about a month before toxicology reports determine the cause of death of Ron Asheton, the guitarist of the pioneering Ann Arbor hard rock band the Stooges.

Asheton, 60, was found dead in his Ann Arbor home on Tuesday morning. Ann Arbor Detective Bill Stanford said police were called to Asheton's house early Tuesday morning by Dara Hytinen, his personal assistant, who had not been able to reach him for several days. Hytinen let officers into the house with her key and Asheton's body was found in his bedroom.

Stanford said he "looked fairly peaceful" and that there was no sign of foul play or drug use. He estimated that Asheton -- who had high blood pressure but no other major medical problems -- had been dead at least five days. Stanford called reports of a heart attack premature.

Asheton's body was taken to the University of Michigan medical center, where an autopsy was to be conducted Tuesday afternoon. Stanford said a cause of death likely won't be determined until toxicology reports are complete, probably in early February.

Asheton, who was ranked No. 29 on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, co-founded the Stooges with his brother, drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton, and frontman Iggy Pop in 1967 in Ann Arbor. The group recorded three albums before splitting up in 1973, reforming in 2003 for Pop's solo album "Skull Ring" and 2007's group album "The Weirdness."

During the Stooges split Asheton played in the bands Destroy All Monsters, The New Order, New Race, Dark Carnival, the Empty Set and Powertrane. He played on the soundtrack for the 1998 film "Velvet Goldmine" and acted in the films "Mosquito," "Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo" and "Legion of the Night."

The Stooges toured Europe in December, and the group has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Asheton is survived by his brother and a sister. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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