Jerry Lee Lewis has died today (Friday, October 28) at the age of 87. According to The Guardian, the singer died of natural causes at home in DeSoto County, Mississippi.
Lewis was hospitalised in Memphis after suffering a stroke in 2019. While he was forced to cancel some planned appearances, he made a full recovery.
Lewis was born in Louisiana and became a session musician in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis, eventually playing with the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. With songs like “Great Balls Of Fire” and “‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On’“, The Killer was a critical figure in the rise of rock’n’roll as the dominant American pop music of the 1950s. He went on to record 40 studio albums during his career.
Earlier this month, Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame but was too ill with the flu to attend the ceremony, with Kris Kristofferson accepting the honour in Lewis’ place.
In his acceptance speech for his Country Music Hall of Fame induction, Lewis said it was with “heartfelt sadness and disappointment that I write to you today from my sick bed, rather than be able to share my thoughts in person”, adding that he “tried everything I could to build up the strength” to attend.
“I am honoured to be going into that Hall of Fame rotunda with some of my heroes – Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers and the like – not to mention so many amazing friends who have been so good to me through the years,” Lewis concluded.
“Thank you all for your support and love and for electing me into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and most of all, thanks to God for allowing me to experience this honour while I am still here.”