WASHINGTON — Sonny Barger, one of the founding members of the Hells Angels biker club, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 83.
The notorious biker announced his own death Thursday with a posthumous letter that was posted to his official Facebook page after he died.
"I’ve lived a long and good life filled with adventure. And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club," Barger wrote. "Although I’ve had a public persona for decades, I’ve mostly enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family, and close friends."
In the post, Barger said he died surrounded by his wife Zorana and other loved ones.
Born Ralph Hubert Barger, he was best known for launching the Oakland Hells Angels and credited with building the gang into an international organization.
The group marked its 65th anniversary in April.
Barger was an author, ex-convict and occasionally an actor on the show "Sons of Anarchy." In his autobiography, he said the founding of the Hells Angels was inspired by Marlon Brando's 1953 crime movie "The Wild One."
At 16, Barger enlisted in the U.S. Army, but was given an honorable discharge just over a year later when the army discovered he had forged his birth certificate.
As a member of the Hells Angels, Barger was arrested numerous times on various violent and drug-related charges.
In 1972, he and three others were acquitted of murdering a Texas drug dealer and setting a home on fire.
A year later, he was sentenced to 10 years to life after being convicted of possession of narcotics and a weapon by a convicted felon. Barger was paroled in 1977 after serving 4.5 years of his sentence.
He was also among the bikers who provided security for the infamously violent Altamont Free Concert in 1969.