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Jerry Lee Lewis, The Rock And Roll Pioneer Behind ‘Great Balls Of Fire,’ Is Dead At 87

Jerry Lee Lewis is dead at 87 years old. His death was prematurely reported earlier this week, but now Lewis representative Zach Farnum has confirmed his passing to Variety.

A statement from Farnum reads, “Judith, his seventh wife, was by his side when he passed away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, south of Memphis. He told her, in his final days, that he welcomed the hereafter, and that he was not afraid.”

Lewis was born in Ferriday, Louisiana on September 29, 1935. His recording career began in the ’50s and two of his most enduring hits were released during this time: “Great Balls Of Fire” and “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On,” both from 1957. He was also known for his flashy piano-playing style. The last album Lewis released during his lifetime was 2014’s Rock & Roll Time. Just a few days ago, on October 16, Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Lewis remained a capable showman even towards the end of his life: He performed at Chicago’s Riot Fest in 2018 and in his Uproxx review, Corbin Reiff wrote, “If I’m being completely honest, I was prepared for the worst. I’ve seen my fair share of ‘classic’ artists far younger than Jerry Lee turn in abysmal performances live, but damn it if the man still can’t play the ever-loving sh*t out of the piano. His voice may not be what it used to be — a little flat, lacking some of the signature nuance — but just to hear him fervently wail away on the ivories, running his hands up and down the keys, tossing off riffs and counter-melodies was absolutely astounding.”