The Doobie Brothers have reacted to the death of their longtime drummer Michael Hossack with a series of heartfelt statements on their official website. Hossack passed away at his home in Wyoming Monday (March 12) after battling cancer for several years.

Founding guitarists Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons each offered remembrances of their friend, with Simmons recalling, “When my kids were little, they used to call him Big Mike, because to them he was such a big guy (Editor’s note — That’s him, 2nd from the right above). But to me and those who knew him, he had an even a bigger heart. We were friends for 43 years and we shared some wonderful adventures together, times I will never forget.”

Johnston was quick to praise Hossack’s role on some of the group’s history: “Mike has always been a part of my musical life and the life of the Doobie Brothers; from our earliest singles, like ‘China Grove’ and ‘Blackwater’ to our most recent single ‘Brighter Day.’ He was an incredible musician, a studio quality drummer. The last few years, he was brave and determined to keep on playing in the face of ill health, and I will always admire him for that. He was a terrific dad and family man, and we will all miss him.”

Next: Rockers We’ve Lost in 2012