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Drummer for Jimi Hendrix found dead

PORTLAND, Ore. — Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group's last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday. He was 61.

Mr. Mitchell was a powerful force on Are You Experienced? the 1967 debut album of the Hendrix band. He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as Fire and Manic Depression.

The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.

Hendrix died in 1970. Noel Redding, bass player for the trio, died in 2003.

An employee at Portland's Benson Hotel called police after discovering Mr. Mitchell's body.

Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mr. Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.

Bob Merlis, a spokesman for the tour, said Mr. Mitchell had stayed in Portland for a four-day vacation and planned to leave Wednesday.

"It was a devastating surprise," Merlis said. "Nobody drummed like he did."

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mr. Mitchell was born July 9, 1947, in Ealing, England.

He played for numerous other bands but was best known for his work in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Hendrix, Redding and Mr. Mitchell held their first rehearsal in October 1966, according to the Hall of Fame's Web site.

In an interview last month with the Boston Herald, Mr. Mitchell said he met Hendrix "in this sleazy little club."

"We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there," Mr. Mitchell told the newspaper. "I suppose it worked."

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