Family thanks all who have shared his unique musical journey after Rock & Roll Hall of Famer suffers heart attack
Dr John, the New Orleans musician who blended black and white musical styles with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl, died Thursday, his family said. He was 77.
In a statement released through his publicist, the family said Dr John, who was born Mac Rebennack, died toward the break of day of a heart attack. They did not say where he died or give other details. He had not been seen in public much since late 2017, when he canceled several gigs. He had been resting at his New Orleans area home, publicist Karen Beninato said last year in an interview.
Memorial arrangements were being planned. The family thanks all whom have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time, the statement said.
The artists spooky 1968 debut, Gris-Gris, combined rhythm and blues with psychedelic rock and startled listeners with its sinister implications of other-worldly magic. He later had a Top 10 hit with Right Place, Wrong Time, collaborated with numerous top-tier rockers, won multiple Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
A white man who found a home among black New Orleans musicians, he first entered the music scene alongside his father, who ran a record shop and also fixed the PA systems at New Orleans bars.
As a teenager in the 1950s, he played guitar and keyboards in a string of bands and made the legendary studio of Cosimo Matassa his second home, Rebennack said in his 1994 memoir, Under a Hoodoo Moon.
He got into music full-time after dropping out of high school, became acquainted with drugs and petty crime and lived a fast-paced life. His gigs ranged from strip clubs to auditoriums, roadhouses and chicken shacks.
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