Trump on Jerry Lee Lewis: He Was 'Beloved by Everyone' (Francois Durand/Getty Images)
By Nicole Wells | Friday, 28 October 2022 06:25 PM EDT
As the world mourned the death of irrepressible rock 'n' roll trailblazer Jerry Lee Lewis, former President Donald Trump issued a statement on the death of the electrifying performer who called himself "The Killer."
"Jerry Lee Lewis was beloved by everyone, a real bundle of talent, energy, and everything else necessary to be a star," Trump said. "He just passed away. Our warmest regards to his wife, Judith, and family. He will be missed!"
Best known for hits "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," the piano-pounding Lewis was able to sustain a career over six decades despite personal scandal that rocked and nearly ended his career.
The last surviving member of a generation of legendary performers that included Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Lewis died Friday morning at home in Memphis, Tennessee, according to his representative Zach Farnum. He was 87.
CNN reports that, when reached by phone, Farnum said Lewis died of natural causes.
News of his death came two days after TMZ inaccurately reported, and later retracted, that he had passed away.
While Lewis toured England in 1958, the press learned he married his 13-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown, while still being married to his first wife. The tour was canceled, Lewis was blacklisted from the radio and his earnings collapsed to virtually nothing overnight.
In the following decades, Lewis battled drug and alcohol addiction and struggled with legal disputes and physical illness.
He reinvented himself as a country artist in the 1960s and revived his career, going on to win three Grammys and record with some of the industry's biggest stars.