“Mr Bojangles” songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker has died of cancer at the age of 78.
The country musician’s passing last Friday (October 23) was confirmed in a statement from family representative John T Davis, who told the Associated Press the next day that “he had battled throat cancer for many years, and some other health issues.”
Originally born in New York under the name Ronald Clyde Crosby, Walker relocated and worked hard as a jobbing songwriter in Texas, penning over 30 studio albums since his psychedelic 1967 debut Circus Maximus. “Mr Bojangles” arrived just one year later on Walker’s LP of the same name, and has been covered by an almost endless run of artists since.
Walker released his final studio album It’s About Time in 2018, just one year after the singer was diagnosed with throat cancer. He is survived by his wife Susan Walker and two children, Jessie Jane Walker and Django Walker.
Since his passing, a large number of musicians and creatives have paid tribute online, including Jason Isbell, Jimmy Buffett and more. See their messages below:
One day I’d like to be an old man who dances onstage like John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker.
— Jason IsBOO (@JasonIsbell) October 24, 2020
In such a hurtful moment, I have to say, that I am SO happy that he drove me to Key West. That lanky frame, cowboy hat, that energy, voice, those songs, wry wit and wonderful laugh will be with me forever. Thank you Jerry Jeff. Love to Susan, Jessie and Django. pic.twitter.com/cEwki8sFTn
— Jimmy Buffett (@jimmybuffett) October 24, 2020
Jerry Jeff Walker has left the building.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 24, 2020
blastin Jerry Jeff Walker records while cookin dinner tonight. ride high wild one pic.twitter.com/bzctN2HmtZ
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) October 24, 2020
RIP, Jerry Jeff Walker. Listen to It’s About Time here: