FILE - In this April 26, 2008 file photo, Dr. John performs during the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans. The family of the Louisiana-born musician known as Dr. John says the celebrated singer and piano player who blended black and white musical influence with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl, has died. He was 77. A family statement released by his publicist says Dr. John, who was born Mac Rebennack, died early Thursday of a heart attack.
Photo: Dave Martin/AP
Photo: Dave Martin/AP

Legendary New Orleans musician Dr. John dead at 77

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The funky and flashy Dr. John, who was born Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack in New Orleans in 1941, was a celebrated musician known for his hoodoo-inspired blend of black and white music and his distinctive Louisiana drawl.

“Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., known as Dr. John, passed away of a heart attack,” according to a statement on his social media pages. “The family thanks all whom shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time.” 

Dr. John’s break-out album, “Gris Gris,” was released in 1968. It featured the musician as a voodoo-based character with a “funky, mystical style of rock and rhythm and blues,” according to WWL-TV.

He went on to create other hit albums, including 1973’s “In the Right Place” and “Such a Night” and 1974’s “Desitively Bonnaroo.” In 1989, he won a Grammy for the song “Makin Whoopie,” a collaboration with Rickie Lee Jones. He won more Grammys in the 1990s, in 1992 for “Goin’ Back to New Orleans” and in 1996 for “SRV Shuffle.”

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Dr. John continued performing in recent years but had fewer public performances, which led to concern among fans about his health.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Condolences for Dr. John and his family have been pouring in on social media.

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