Tommy Bolin left his home town of SIoux City, Iowa at 16 after quitting school for refusing cut his hair. With his parents blessings he left for Denver, Colorado to pursue his dream of playing guitar. With Candy and David Givens he found local success in a band called Zephyr which opened for alot of the big rock acts of the day. Joe Walsh (later of Eagles fame) recommended that Tommy be the one to replace him in the James Gang after he left in 1973. He replaced Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple in 1975 and toured with them until their breakup March 1976. After the breakup he formed the Tommy Bolin Band. He came home to play in his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa and visit his family for Thanksgiving in November of 1976. It had been the first time he had been home to celebrate the holiday with his family in 3 or 4 years. As he was leaving to go to Miami to start his new tour for his new album that had just been released his youngest brother Rick told him " If I don't seen you in this world I will see you in the next and don't be late'".Tommy replied "I am never late".Those statements turned out ot be prophetic. After playing a successful first night of his new tour to promote his new album "Private Eyes" he went to his hotel room to party. Conflicting stories tell about what happened next. After passing out while talking on the phone from an apparent overdose he was walked around the room and other measures to revive him until he was talking. An in house doctor from the hotel was called who recommended they get him an ambulance but was it was not done because they didn't want any adverse publicity to hurt the tour. Everyone except his swedish girlfriend Valeria left the room at 3:00 AM to let him sleep it off thinking the worst was over but they were wrong. After 7:00 AM Velaria awoke to find him barely breathing and a very weak pulse . This time they did call for an ambulance but it was too late. Over those four hours he had not breathed enough and slowly suffocated. His family had celebrated Thanksgiving with him only to have to deal with his tragic death a week later on December 4th, 1976. He was laid to rest in the Calvary Cemetary in Sioux City, Iowa on Dec. 10,1976. at the age of 25. Although his longtime girlfriend Karen Ulibarri had recently left him for one of his best friends guitarist Glen Hughes of Deep Purple fame and moved to England, both came back to attend his funeral. Karen had kept a ring that was given to Tommy by a record executive. This ring had originally belonged to one of his guitar idols Jimi Hendrix and he was wearing it when he also died tragically of a drug overdose in 1970 at age 27. Karen had held on the to ring for Tommy because he was always losing it . She slipped it on his finger at his funeral and he was buried with it . His family is very devoted to preserving his memory and his brother Johnny has a website dedicated to preserving his memory called the Tommy Bolin Archives at www.tbolin.com.