(CNN) -- Jani Lane, lead singer of the 1980s "hair-metal" band Warrant, was found dead Thursday evening in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles, police said. He was 47.
The cause of death is unknown.
The singer helped propel the band to metal infamy with rock anthems like "Cherry Pie" and "Heaven." Warrant's first album, "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich," was released in 1989 and quickly was followed by the multiplatinum album "Cherry Pie" in 1990.
Lane sang for Warrant until 2002, when he left "due to business differences," according to his website. In an autobiography posted on that site, he described the creation of "Cherry Pie" as a fortunate afterthought.
"We recorded summer of '90, and when we were done, the president of Columbia Records said, 'Jani, you know I'm a big Aerosmith fan ... can you give me one more track? Something kitschy and sexy like "Love in an Elevator?' " Lane wrote.
"I wrote 'Cherry Pie' that night and sent it off to N.Y. the next day. I've been the 'Cherry Pie Guy' ever since."
Lane was born John Kennedy Oswald on February 1, 1964 -- a name his parents, both fans of the slain president, changed after "about a month of harassing phone calls," he recounted. He began playing drums at 6 and added guitar and keyboard to his repertoire when he was 12, according to his website.
Lane concluded his biography by thanking fans.
"Thanks for listening and know that every day above ground is a gift and I'm truly grateful for each and every one of you," he wrote.
A statement posted on the singer's site Friday called Lane's death "unexpected and tragic." Warrant also posted a tribute video in honor of the former frontman on its website.