FILE -- Dr. John performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, April 5, 2012. Mac Rebennack, the pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer better known as Dr. John, who embodied the New Orleans sound for generations of music fans, died on June 6, 2019. He was 77.
Photo: Chad Batka/The New York Times
Photo: Chad Batka/The New York Times

Dr. John tributes fill social media

Musicians, celebrities say goodbye to the New Orleans legend

The term inimitable is often used to describe musicians - and not always accurately.

Dr. John, however, defined inimitable.

The flamboyant New Orleans piano legend died Thursday at the age of 77.

According to an announcement on Dr. John’s social media pages, he passed away of a heart attack “towards the break of day.”

Dr. John, born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. in New Orleans, won six Grammy Awards in his 50-year career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

In addition to bringing a dose of N’Awlins soul to the masses with songs that traversed blues, rock and jazz such as “Right Place, Wrong Time,” “Such a Night” and his version of “Iko Iko,” Dr. John memorably inspired the groovy Muppet, Dr. Teeth.

Dr. John’s last performance in Atlanta was in January 2014, when he played “Let This Be a Lesson To Ya” at the Gregg Allman tribute concert at the Fox Theatre dubbed, “All My Friends.” Prior to that, Dr. John and his Nite Trippers performed in 2013 at the Variety Playhouse.

An assortment of celebrities, from Louisiana native Ellen DeGeneres to Ringo Starr (Dr. John was a member of a couple All Starr Band lineups, including the inaugural tour in 1989), took to social media to express their condolences.  

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.