Jerry Jeff Walker, Singer-Songwriter Of "Mr. Bojangles" Fame, Dies At 78

Jerry Jeff Walker, Singer-Songwriter Of "Mr. Bojangles" Fame, Dies At 78

Walker is said to have died of throat cancer and associated health problems, according to his former publicist.

Musician Jerry Jeff Walker poses backstage during day two of California's Stagecoach Country Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Club on April 26, 2009 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Jerry Jeff Walker, the singer-songwriter known as a pillar of Texas has died. He was 78, reports Variety. He was also known for penning the famous song "Mr. Bojangles." The song has been a great hit for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970 and for Sammy Davis Jr. in 1972 and has been covered by countless performers. Walker first recorded the song in 1968 for his album of the same name. He is said to have died of throat cancer and associated health problems, according to his former publicist who spoke to TMZ. He revealed that Walker's wife instructed him to prepare an obituary two months ago. 


Initially, in 2017, Walker revealed he had throat cancer and pneumonia, and it was so bad it looked like he might not make it, but he was able to recover. Walker released his last album "It's About Time" a year later, in 2018. Born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, N.Y. in 1942, Walker, who began exploring the world of music as a teenager drifted into the thriving early ’60s folk music scene in New York City, according to Variety. Before settling in Austin, Texas in 1971, he traveled around the country. Walker's arrival was just in time as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and other artists were emerging as hitmakers in the “Outlaw” style coming out of Nashville at the time.


“Other than Willie, Jerry Jeff is the most important musician to happen to Austin, Texas, I would have to say,” Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson told the Tennessean on Saturday. “He really brought that folksinger/songwriter form to its height in Texas. And for that, he’ll be eternal, because there’s all these kids today that write songs in that mode.” Other musicians admire Walker, especially because he's someone who never hesitated to assist other musicians, particularly by covering their songs early in their careers. Jimmy Buffett, songwriter of “Margaritaville” claims Walker helped him establish himself in Key West, Fla.


“Jerry Jeff was kind enough to take me in and let me stay and live with him for a while,” Buffett said. “I worked part-time in an auto repair garage, working on his car, and then, when the car got fixed, we drove to Key West.” Walker’s survivors include his wife, Susan, a son, Django, and a daughter, Jessie Jane. Bill Clinton took to Twitter to express his sorrow: I was saddened to hear about the passing of Jerry Jeff Walker. I’ll never forget seeing him at the Armadillo music hall in Austin in 1972, or his performance for my 1992 campaign the night before Election Day. He was a true original, and his music will live on.


Dan Rather shared: Sad word comes this morning that my friend and neighbor Jerry Jeff Walker has passed away. My condolences to his wonderful wife Susan and all his friends and family. He was a brilliant songwriter, singer, musician, and all around good guy. He will be missed. David Wild added: Farewell to #JerryJeffWalker who "jumped so high" then "lightly touched down" as an extraordinary singer, songwriter & storyteller. #RIPJerryJeffWalker. Billy Bob's Texas commented: We are saddened to hear of the passing of Texas music legend and our friend, Jerry Jeff Walker. We have been lucky to make many memories with JJW over the years and will miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.


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