Rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Hawkins passed away May 29th at the age of 87. Cause and location of death was not disclosed, although his daughter Leah did disclose he had been quite ill.
Although he only reached the Top 40 once, peaking at #26 in 1959 with "Mary Lou", Ronnie is as well known for mentoring his backup band the Hawks. By the early sixties, the Hawks consisted of members Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. They would eventually leave to tour with Bob Dylan and subsequently form the nucleus of The Band.
Ronnie's first cousin Dale wrote and had a Top 40 hit with "Suzie-Q", a song that launched Creedence Clearwater Revival's career.
Besides his daughter Leah, survivors include his wife, Wanda, and two other children, Ronnie Jr. and Robin, and four grandchildren.