Dr. John, Acclaimed New Orleans Musician, Dies at 77

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., also known as Mac or Dr. John, was a musician, professional songwriter, and producer most famously known for his debut single, "Gris-Gris."

His publicist released a statement earlier today to confirm that Dr. John died of a heart attack. Dr. John would have celebrated his 78th birthday in five months. The statement read: 

"The family thanks all whom have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time."

Dr. John began his career in the fifties but only rose to fame in the mid-sixties when he assumed the persona of "Dr. John the Night Tripper." 

He released "Gris-Gris" in 1968 and carved out a niche in the industry for combining rhythm and blues with psychedelic rock. He soon turned into a New Orleans city icon. 

Dr. John's idiosyncratic style and sound embodied both New Orleans music as well as the city's vibrant culture and atmosphere.

The acclaimed singer won a total of six Grammy awards and was inducted in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame back in March 2011. 

Apart from writing and performing the score for a film adaption of John Steinbeck's "Cannery Row," Dr. John also appeared in Martin Scorsese's documentary, "The Last Waltz." 

He battled drug addiction during his early years but completed his final rehabilitation stint through Narcotics Anonymous in 1989, and remained addiction free for the rest of his life.

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