The death of legendary Bay Area rocker Ronnie Montrose has been ruled a suicide.

According to Guitar Player magazine, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office said 64-year-old guitarist died on March 3 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Montrose's family has confirmed his suicide but did not go into specifics.

A statement on Montrose's website says, "By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie's death is public knowledge. We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible. We can only hope that you will choose to celebrate Ronnie's life, and what his music meant to you, rather than mourn his passing. Ronnie would have wanted it that way. He loved being a guitarist, a composer, a producer, and a creator of magic. He fully understood his gifts, and yet he constantly pushed himself to evolve, improve, and make better music. He did this for himself, and he did this for you, because he adored and appreciated his fans. Please keep his energy, his joy, and his love in your hearts."

Montrose reportedly battled clinical depression for much of his life. According to Billboard, booking agent Jim Douglas said the guitarist was dealing with "personal demons." A toxicology report found Montrose's blood-alcohol level was 0.31 percent when he died. No other drugs were found in his system. He had also been battling cancer for several years.

Along with forming Montrose in 1973, Montrose performed and recorded with artists such as Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs and Herbie Hancock. Sammy Hagar made his recording debut as a vocalist on 1973's "Montrose."

On April 27, Hagar and members of Montrose's band -- with guest guitarist Joe Satriani filling -- will perform a concert in his honor at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. The show is sold out.


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SIMPSONS ARE FROM OREGON: One of the best-kept secrets in television history has been unmasked when "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening revealed the Springfield in Oregon as the basis for the hometown of his characters.

Great. Now those Oregonians are REALLY going to start thinking they're superior.

The admission came in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine that was published online Tuesday.

Groening says he was inspired by the televisions show "Father Knows Best," which took place in a place called Springfield. Springfield, Ore., is 100 miles south of Groening's hometown of Portland.

Groening says he has long given fake answers when asked about the Simpsons' hometown.

The show has made a running joke of hiding the true Springfield's location. In one episode, daughter Lisa points to Springfield on a map, but the animated "camera view" is blocked by her brother Bart's head.

ALEC BALDWIN'S STALKER CHARGED: A Canadian actress accused of stalking Alec Baldwin sent him a string of emails begging him to marry her, according to a police complaint.

Genevieve Sabourin was arraigned on aggravated harassment and stalking charges Monday, a day after her arrest in New York City.

Police said Baldwin and Sabourin met a decade ago on a movie set and initially had been friendly, but the relationship apparently took a turn for the bizarre in recent days.

She must have started calling him "Billy."

Sabourin traveled from her home in Quebec to New York City, then began sending Baldwin desperate emails, according to police.

"Please Alec come and pick me up now," said one message, according to a court filing. "I am less than 10 min away from you tonight. Say I do to me." In another, she referred to him as her "husband," according to court papers.

At least she'd stopped calling him "Billy."

Then, Sabourin crashed a film screening Baldwin was hosting on April 5 and had to be thrown out by security guards, a police detective wrote. The next day, she sent another email to the "30 Rock" star, saying, "I hope I did not ruin everything by my lack of freedom and passive actions."

Uh ... passive?

Sabourin's lawyer at the arraignment, Julie Sender, said her client and Baldwin had a two-year "mutual relationship." And by relationship, she meant "stalker-stalkee."

They met on the set of "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," a film in which he made a cameo and she was a publicist, and then went to dinner together at least once in 2010.

Well, there you have it. Poor woman. Trying to promote "Pluto Nash" would drive anyone insane.

Baldwin posted a Twitter message about the episode Tuesday, writing, "Isn't it odd when an accused stalker is in handcuffs, being taken away by the cops, yet smiles for the cameras?"

Apparently Baldwin doesn't watch much reality television.

TOM HANKS MAY BE WALT DISNEY: Tom Hanks is negotiating to play Walt Disney in an upcoming movie about the making of "Mary Poppins," according to Variety.

I guess Dick Van Dyke is probably too old to play Dick Van Dyke.

Emma Thompson is in talks to play "Poppins" author P.L. Travers. Travers rebuffed Disney's efforts to convince her a big-screen version of her books would be a good idea.

As the story went, it took Disney two decades to be given the green light and he had to surrender script approval rights to the author. When filming got underway in the early 1960s, Disney and Travers clashed over song choices, animated sequences and storyline changes.

She also told Walt she didn't care for the Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland.

The difficult working relationship between filmmaker and writer was chronicled in Valerie Lawson's biography "Mary Poppins She Wrote," which inspired two documentaries on Travers. John Lee Hancock has signed on to direct.

MELISSA GILBERT HOSPITALIZED: Former "Little House on the Prairie Star" Melissa Gilbert was rushed to the hospital during the broadcast of Monday night's "Dancing with the Stars," after hitting her head on the dance floor during her paso doble performance with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The actress' representative told CNN "As a result of hitting her head during the dance (Monday), Melissa has a mild concussion and whiplash. She is at home, resting comfortably and looking forward to her next dance."

The injury punctuates what was a long week for Gilbert. The 47-year-old complained about a particularly grueling effort preparing for the performance.

In a Monday blog post she wrote for People magazine -- titled "This Week Has Been a Killer" -- Gilbert wrote: "Bruises are not sexy. Neither are burns, cuts, scrapes, sore muscles and calloused feet ... I have a burn on my ankle from being dragged across the floor by Maks. It will scar. No question. The scar is mine. I earned it by working really hard."

Is she training to dance or fight in a cage match?

Follow Tony Hicks at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/insertfoot

APRIL 11 IN HISTORY

Today is Wednesday, April 11, the 102nd day of 2012. There are 264 days left in the year.

1689: William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

1814: Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as Emperor of the French and was banished to the island of Elba.

1862: The Civil War Battle of Fort Pulaski in Chatham County, Ga., ended a day after it began as the fort fell to Union forces.

1899: The treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

1912: Crosley Field, the longtime home of the Cincinnati Reds, had its opening day under its original name, Redland Field. (The Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs 10-6.)

1921: Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax, at 2 cents a package.

1945: During World War II, American soldiers liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.

1951: President Harry S. Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East.

1962: President John F. Kennedy held a press conference in which he angrily denounced plans by United States Steel and other steel producers to raise prices (the companies ended up backing down). The New York Mets played their first game, losing to the host St. Louis Cardinals 11-4.

1970: Apollo 13, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert, blasted off on its ill-fated mission to the moon.

1979: Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seized control.

1981: President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House from the hospital, 12 days after he was wounded in an assassination attempt. Race-related rioting erupted in the Brixton district of south London.

2009: Susan Boyle, a middle-aged volunteer church worker, wowed judges and audiences alike with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" on the British TV show "Britain's Got Talent."

2002: U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-Ohio, was convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks from businessmen and his own staff. (Traficant was later expelled from Congress and sentenced to eight years in prison; he was released in September 2009.)

2007: North Carolina's top prosecutor dropped all charges against three former Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a party, saying the athletes were innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse." MSNBC announced it was dropping its simulcast of the "Imus in the Morning" radio program, responding to growing outrage over host Don Imus' on-air reference to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." (CBS Radio followed suit the next day.)

2011: A bloody, four-month standoff in the West African nation of Ivory Coast ended when troops loyal to the elected president routed and captured his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, the longtime strongman who'd lost the vote but refused to give up power.

BIRTHDAYS

Ethel Kennedy (84), actor Joel Grey (80), actress Louise Lasser (73), Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman (71), actor Peter Riegert (65), singer Lisa Stansfield (46), rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) (42), actor Johnny Messner (42), actor Vicellous Shannon (41), rapper David Banner (38), actress Tricia Helfer (38), rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) (33), actress Kelli Garner (28), singer Joss Stone (25).

Associated Press