James Hetfield Got A New Tattoo With Lemmy Kilmister's Ashes: See The Pic

By Katrina Nattress

April 17, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

When Lemmy Kilmister died in 2015, the Motörhead bandleader made sure he went out with a bang—literally. After being cremated, some of his ashes were transferred to bullet shell casings, which were distributed to his closest friends. One of the recipients was James Hetfield, and in return the Metallica frontman found a creative way to honor one of his biggest inspirations .

On Wednesday (April 17), Hetfield took to Metallica's Instagram to reveal a special new tattoo. "With the steady hand of friend and tattoo artist @coreymillertattoo, this tattoo. A salute to my friend and inspiration Mr. Lemmy Kilmister. Without him, there would be NO Metallica," he wrote alongside a photo showing off the new ink—a spade inside an iron cross on his middle finger—and bullet casing with Lemmy's ashes. "Black ink mixed with a pinch of his cremation ashes that were so graciously given to me. So now, he is still able to fly the bird at the world."

Hetfield reflected on Lemmy's passing in late 2016, nearly a year after he died. “I was pretty distraught when he passed,” he said at the time. “My vision of him was as a statue of a man that was immortal. When he passed it scared me, like, ‘where’s our captain now?’ He’s been a godfather to us. There’s no doubt that without him there wouldn’t be a Metallica. When he was around, it just felt like things were going to be okay.”

See Hetfield's new tattoo below.

Lemmy died on December 28, 2015 at the age of 70, shortly after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The band's surviving members don't plan on touring as Motörhead without the late frontman. "That, to me, is stepping over the line," drummer Mikkey Dee said in an interview last year.

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