Musicians, others react to the death of Jerry Lee Lewis


Tributes to the “Great Balls of Fire” rocker have been pouring in on social media from rockers and country stars, as well as former President Donald Trump.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tributes are pouring in for rock ‘n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis after his death on Friday. He was 87 years old.

His publicist said Judith, Lewis’ seventh wife, was by his side when he died at his home in Southaven, Mississippi, south of Memphis. “He told her, in his last days, that he welcomed the afterlife and was not afraid,” according to a statement.

The news came two days after TMZ published an erroneous report of his death, which was later retracted.

Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.

“Jerry Lee Lewis’ indelible mark as a rock & roller skater in no way obscures his impact as one of the greatest country singers of all time,” Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame CEO, said. “He was the ultimate stylist – as his friend Kris Kristofferson put it, ‘a table-thumpin’ smash.”

“Memphis’ sound is rooted in blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll, and today our music community lost an icon with the passing of Jerry Lee Lewis,” said Kevin Kane, President and CEO. from the management of Memphis Tourism. “A Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, he was also a member of the Sun Studio Million Dollar Quartet which helped solidify the famed Memphis recording studio as a global musical benchmark. The Lewis family remains in the collective thoughts of the tourism and hospitality community.Jerry Lee’s legacy will live on through his music which continues to influence new generations of artists and musicians.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump called Lewis “a true bundle of talent, energy, and everything it takes to be a star.”

“Jerry Lee Lewis was loved by all, a true bundle of talent, energy and everything that is needed to be a star,” Trump said. “He has just passed away. Our warmest regards to his wife, Judith, and his family. He will be missed!”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland described Lewis as a “one-of-a-kind artist”.

“Jerry Lee Lewis was a one-of-a-kind artist,” Strickland said. “I so appreciate his music, especially the songs recorded at Sun Studio. No one played the piano like him. I was honored to meet him last year and my prayers are with his family.”

Lewis was a member of the Million Dollar Quartet, an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash at the Sun Studio in Memphis on December 4, 1956.

In a statement, Sun Studio said: “Today we mourn the loss of a legend. Sun artist Jerry Lee Lewis has died at the age of 87. He gave Sun the two greatest hits of all time; “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire”. Kudos to the last man standing!”

Today we mourn the loss of a legend. Sun artist Jerry Lee Lewis has died aged 87. He…

Posted by Sun Studio on Friday, October 28, 2022

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn said Lewis “left an indelible mark on the rock and roll and country music communities”.

ABC24 last interviewed Lewis in April 2013, days before the Jerry Lee Lewis and Honky Tonk cafe opened on Beale Street. Lewis opened the hotspot to celebrate the rockabilly culture he helped create.

“Beale Street has a heavy heart today on learning of the passing of Jerry Lee Lewis,” said a statement on the Street’s Twitter page said. “Rest in peace to ‘The Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis. Founding father of the Rock n’ Roll genre, member of the Sun Studios Million Dollar Quartet, and so much more. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. “

“The world lost another musical icon today”, American rock band The doors tweeted. “Rest in peace Jerry Lee Lewis, a pioneer of early rock n’ roll and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The Doors and Jim Morrison drew heavily on Lewis.”

Country music singer Tim McGraw shared an excerpt from a recording with Lewis.

Singer, pianist and composer Elton John thanked Lewis for his pioneering inspiration.

“Without Jerry Lee Lewis, I would not have become who I am today” John said. “He was groundbreaking and exciting, and he pulverized the piano. A brilliant singer too. Thank you for all your pioneering inspiration and all the rock ‘n’ roll memories.”

Actor Dennis Quaid played Lewis in “Great Balls of Fire!” in 1989 and called him the greatest pianist in the world.

“Jerry Lee was a Christian, an American icon and the greatest pianist in the world,” Quaid said. “People will be listening to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Whole Lot of Shakin’ in 500 years. I will miss him. God bless you Jerry Lee.

“Unfortunately, one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll has passed away. A rebel to the end. RIP, Jerry Lee Lewis,” said musician Gene Simmons on Twitter.

“God bless Jerry Lee Lewis peace and love for his family”, musician Ringo Star said on Twitter.

“Jerry Lee Lewis has passed away… REST EASY KILLER you were one of a kind… #RIPJerryLee,” said vocal quartet The Oak Ridge Boys on Twitter.

“RIP Jerry Lee Lewis. The killer is gone. He could play that piano, boy. I think I gotta play me the Lewis Boogie,” author Stephen King said on Twitter.

We will continue to update this article as we learn of more tributes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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