Tommy Ramone, drummer and founding member of the influential American rock band The Ramones, passed away yesterday at his home in New York after a long battle with bile duct cancer.

He was the last surviving member of the band and appeared on their earliest studio albums, including their 1976 self-titled debut Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia.

Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, Tommy started the band with original members Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone in New York City in 1974.

Tommy left the band after the release of their third album but co-produced the band’s later works. In 1978, he famously said, "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different."

It wasn't until 1996 that the remaining members of the band played a farewell concert and parted ways.

In their prime, The Ramones breathed new life into rock music and heavily influenced the emerging punk rock scene of the time and in 2002 they were welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his partner, Claudia Tienan, and an older brother.