Jerry Lee Lewis, one of rock’s earliest stars, has died. He was 87.
Lewis’s death was confirmed by a rep in a press release that covers the pianist’s wild life. The press release didn’t state a cause of death but stated, “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.”
“He said he was ready to be with Jesus,” said Judith.
Lewis’s death was prematurely reported earlier this week by TMZ who retracted their initial report stating, “…We were told by someone claiming to be Lewis’ rep that he had passed. That turned out not to be the case.”
Lewis scored a number of hits including “Great Balls of Fire,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Breathless.” His flamboyant performance style was influential to many performers for generations that followed. His career derailed in December 1957 after Lewis, then 22, married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown.
Lewis was part of the first induction class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Other artists inducted that first year were Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.