Rock ‘N’ Roll Icon Jerry Lee Lewis Dead At 87

Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and pianist, died on Friday at the age of 87, his publicist confirmed to NBC News.

The “Great Balls of Fire” singer passed away at his home in Desoto County, Miss., with his wife Judith by his side, according to a press release announcing the sad news.

“Lewis, perhaps the last true, great icon of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, whose marriage of blues, gospel, country, honky-tonk and raw, pounding stage performances so threatened a young Elvis Presley that it made him cry, has died,” the release – written by journalist Rick Bragg – read in part.

“He was there at the beginning, with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and the rest, and watched them fade away one by one till it was him alone to bear witness, and sing of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll,” it continued. “‘Who would have thought,’ he said, near the end of his days, ‘it would be me?’”

Jerry Lee Lewis' Life In Photos

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Life In Photos

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According to the release, Lewis suffered “various illnesses and injuries” during the last years of his life.

“‘He is ready to leave,’ his wife Judith said, just before his death,” it read.

Lewis, who was nicknamed “the Killer,” was known for his hit songs “Breathless,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and “Great Balls of Fire,” among many others.

The music icon leaves behind his wife Judith; children Jerry, Ronnie, Phoebe and Lori; sister Linda; cousin Jimmy Swaggart; as well as his grandchildren, nephews and nieces.