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‘Great Balls of Fire’ rocker Jerry Lee Lewis has died

The musician, nicknamed ‘The Killer,’ died at his home in Mississippi with his wife, Judith, by his side

SHARE ‘Great Balls of Fire’ rocker Jerry Lee Lewis has died
Jerry Lee Lewis performs at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Jerry Lee Lewis performs at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lewis died on Oct. 28, 2022, at the age of 87.

Henny Ray Abrams, Associated Press

Jerry Lee Lewis, the wild rock ’n’ roll pianist behind “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” has died. He was 87.

How did Jerry Lee Lewis die?

The musician, nicknamed “The Killer,” died at his home in Mississippi with his wife, Judith, by his side. The cause of death has not been revealed, reports The New York Times.

Lewis “suffered through the last years of his life from various illnesses and injuries that, his physicians have often said, should have taken him decades ago,” said Rick Bragg, Lewis’s biographer, per NBC News.

What was Jerry Lee Lewis known for?

The singer was known for extravagant displays during his shows, suggestive music, excessive drug use and multiple marriages. He claimed to be possessed with “the Devil’s music,” and howled during shows like he really was, The New York Times reported.

“He pounded the piano with such abandon that it’s a wonder it didn’t come apart. He is a defiant, reckless, indefatigable wild man that can rock you into oblivion,” said the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where Lewis was inducted in 1986.

The pianist was a fierce competitor with Elvis Presley, his fellow rock ’n’ roll trailblazer. Lewis made sure to separate himself from Presley, who he called a “phenomenon.” According to The New York Times, Lewis told the record-collector magazine Goldmine in 1981, “There’s a difference between a phenomenon and a stylist. I’m a stylist.”

Many of Lewis’ songs were top 10 hits, per The Hollywood Reporter. He was a 2005 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Country Music Hall of Famer and 10-time gold record winner, Variety reported.