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Johnny Ramone hospitalized

Guitarist Johnny Ramone is hospitalized due to an infection related to prostate cancer.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Johnny Ramone, guitarist for the legendary punk band The Ramones, was hospitalized with an infection related to prostate cancer, his publicist said Thursday.

“He is receiving the medication he needs and will be leaving the hospital next week to continue his recovery,” spokesman Paul Bloch said.

Ramone, 55, whose birth name is John Cummings, was at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

He and his wife, Linda, released the statement in response to recent, conflicting reports about his health, Bloch said.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, drummer Marky Ramone said the guitarist’s health was declining.

“He went through many chemotherapy treatments,” Marky Ramone told the magazine. “Some of it worked better than others. At this point (the cancer) has started to go into other areas of the body.”

Bloch said he was unaware of the Rolling Stone report.

“If someone says anything contrary, I don’t know anything about that,” Bloch said. “I got a call from Linda and Johnny last night and they asked me to put out the statement.”

Johnny Ramone was one of the original four members of the Ramones, whose memorable three-chord anthems like “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” landed them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

The band formed in Queens in the mid-1970s, eventually becoming mainstays of the Bowery nightclub CBGB’s where Blondie and the Talking Heads both emerged.

The band’s singer, Joey Ramone, whose real name is Jeff Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone, whose real name was Douglas Colvin, died from a drug overdose in 2002.

The guitarist with pioneering punk rock band the Ramones is fighting a losing a battle with cancer in a Los Angeles hospital, Rolling Stone magazine reported on its Web site Tuesday.

Johnny Ramone, 55, whose real name is John Cummings, was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago, and it has now spread throughout his body, quoted the band’s drummer, Marky Ramone, as saying.

“Johnny’s been a champ in confronting this, but at this point I think the chances are slim,” Marky Ramone said in the report. “John never smoked cigarettes, he wasn’t a heavy drinker and he was always into his health. It just proves when cancer seeks a body to penetrate, it doesn’t matter how healthy you are or how unhealthy you are. It just seeps in and there’s nothing you can do.”

The Ramones, famed for playing their high-energy, unpolished songs at breakneck speed, rose to fame in New York City in 1974, paving the way for such British punk rock icons as the Sex Pistols and the Clash.

The band made its mark with such tunes as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” ”Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” but it never achieved the same commercial success as acts that followed in its path. The Ramones officially retired in 1996.

The band’s singer, Joey Ramone (ne Jeff Hyman), died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer, while bassist Dee Dee Ramone (ne Douglas Colvin) died from a drug overdose the following year.