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Dr John dies aged 77: Ringo Starr leads tributes to Grammy-winning New Orleans singer

  • July 5, 2020
  • News
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Dr John, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame singer, has died aged 77 after suffering a heart attack.

The New Orleans-born musician, whose real name was Malcolm John Rebennack and who was a six-time Grammy winner, died on Thursday, a message posted to his official Twitter account said.

A statement said: "Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr, known as Dr John, passed away of a heart attack.

"The family thanks all who shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course."

Dr John, born in 1941, was known for music combining blues, pop, jazz, boogie woogie and rock and roll.

 US musician Dr John performs on the stage of the Auditorium Stravinski at the 48th Montreux Jazz Festival, in MontreuxCredit:

His career started in the late 1950s when he worked as a session musician in New Orleans, before gaining recognition as a solo performer with the release of his album Gris-Gris in 1968.

Dr John’s live shows were known for their carnival atmosphere and the singer would scatter glitter on the audience while wearing costumes of bright colours, feathers and plumes.

He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2011 by the singer John Legend.

Following news of his death, figures from the music world paid tribute.

Debbie Harry, the lead singer of new wave band Blondie, shared a picture of the two together and wrote: "RIP Mac Rebennack, Dr John."

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also paid tribute, tweeting a picture of himself with Dr John along with the message: "God bless Dr. John peace and love to all his family I love the doctor peace and love."

Music critic Ted Gioia said Dr John "leaves a hole in our musical culture that can’t be filled".

He tweeted: "We have lost Dr John, one of the greatest exponents of the New Orleans piano tradition. He kept the flame alive over long decades, and leaves a hole in our musical culture that can’t be filled."

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said: "Dr John was a true Louisiana legend. He showed the world Louisiana’s rich musical heritage, and his passion for music has left a mark on the industry unlike any other.

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"FirstLadyOfLA and I send our condolences to Dr. John’s family during this difficult time."

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