The rock’n’roll pianist known for hits including ‘Great Balls of Fire’ passed away aged 87
Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock’n’roll pianist famous as much for his outrageous lifestyle as for hits like ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’, died at his Mississippi home on Friday morning, aged 87, his publicist Zach Farnum announced in a press release. His death had been falsely reported by TMZ just two days earlier.
While Lewis’ cause of death was not specified, his biographer, Rick Bragg, wrote that the star had “suffered through the last years of his life from various illnesses and injuries that, his physicians have often said, should have taken him decades ago.”
Nicknamed ‘The Killer’, Lewis was among the first musicians inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and joined the Country Hall of Fame earlier this year. Despite his successes onstage, however, personal scandals nearly sank his career several times. A 1958 headline tour was scuttled when it emerged he had married his 13-year-old cousin, and two of his seven wives met early deaths under dubious circumstances. He struggled with drugs, alcohol, and the Internal Revenue Service, to whom he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.
Lewis won three Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement prize in 2005, and never really retired, releasing an album as recently as 2010 with The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and others. He was the subject of multiple films, including the 1989 biopic ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Trouble in Mind’, a documentary released earlier this year.
The music icon’s passing elicited tributes from a wide range of celebrities. Former US president Donald Trump, actor Dennis Quaid, novelist Stephen King, and a lengthy list of fellow musicians including Ringo Starr, the Marshall Tucker Band, Gene Simmons, and Elton John paid their respects via social media and press release.
https://ift.tt/fWKecdO October 29, 2022 at 03:31AM