Walker is said to have died of throat cancer and associated health problems, according to his former publicist.
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.
Damn. Just heard that Jerry Jeff Walker has passed on. From the moment I first heard “hiiiii buckaroos” as a kid, on what would become a very worn out copy of Great Gonzos, he’s been a major part of my life’s soundtrack and a huge influence as an artist. Rest easy, Gypsy Songman. pic.twitter.com/BwIFRVNpKz— Libby Koch (@libbykoch) October 24, 2020
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.
RIP Jerry Jeff Walker. Born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York, best known for writing "Mr. Bojangles.” First drove Jimmy Buffett to Key West (from Coconut Grove, Florida) in a Packard. Known as the Gypsy Songman. Grew up with his music through high school and college. pic.twitter.com/PorMO5qr8d— Gilbert A. Herrera (@HerreraGilbertA) October 24, 2020
“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.
Lost my buddy @jerryjeffwalker last night! One of the great Lone Star bad asses - gave me a gig in the 70s when he was the king in my neck of the woods- Adios Amigo - tell @GuyClarkKCA I said hey- RIP-— Kix Brooks (@KixBrooks) October 24, 2020
“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.
RIP Jerry Jeff Walker. I will listen to the 1973 outlaw classic VIVA TERLINGUA and drink some sangria wine in his honor today. pic.twitter.com/lqpV4MbL2o— Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) October 24, 2020
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.
Jerry Jeff Walker passed. Great songwriter, soulful voice, respected by peers & funny. 30 years ago Roseanne wanted to sing Mr Bojangles in an HBO Special They said no that would disrespect Jerry. I called Jerry & he said he’d also written “Pissing in the wind”so why the hell not— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) October 24, 2020