Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis has passed away

Publish Date
Saturday, 29 October 2022, 11:09AM

Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock 'n' roll pioneer who was best known for hits 'Great Balls of Fire' and 'Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,' has died aged 87.

He died of natural causes at his home in DeSoto County, Mississippi. Lewis had been ill in recent years and suffered a stroke in 2019.

"Judith, his seventh wife, was by his side when he passed away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, south of Memphis," a statement said.

"He told her, in his final days, that he welcomed the hereafter, and that he was not afraid."

Lewis’s energetic performances on songs helped install rock 'n' roll as the dominant American pop music of the 1950s.

He was born in Louisiana in 1935 and when he was nine years old he taught himself to play the piano.

His father mortgaged the family farm to buy Lewis his first piano when he was 10, and when he was 14 he had his first public performance at a local car dealership.

Some of his earliest recordings were made in 1956 with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, a group later dubbed the Million Dollar Quartet.

The first person inducted into the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Lewis played gigs well into his 80s.

Lewis recorded 40 studio albums, the most recent being Rock & Roll Time in 2014.

Lewis is survived by four of his six children – Ronnie Guy, Phoebe Allen, Lori Lee and Jerry Lee III – and his wife Judith.

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