In an unconfirmed report, a publication has reported that country singer Billy ThunderKloud died this month. The artist was said to have passed away on June 5, 2018.
According to Music Row, the singer was 70 years old at the time of his death. The cause of death was said to be “due to complications from a stroke and pneumonia.”
Billy ThunderKloud, a former Nashville resident enjoyed a string of chart records in the 1970s. The artist was most known for the beads, turquoise jewelry, feathers, braids, and costumes that he wore to recognize his Native American ancestry.
He was born Vincent Clifford in British Columbia, Canada. The musician was a member of the Gitksan tribe which is part of the Tsimshian Indian Nation.
His tribe had named him Chief Dau-Hkansqu. At age 14, he got on a train from Port Edward, BC to Edmonton, Alberta in order to attend the Indian Residential School there.
In 1964, he formed the Chieftones with fellow Native American musicians Jack Wolf, Barry Littlestar and Richard Grayowl. They were billed as ‘Canada’s All-Indian Band.’
The star adopted the stage name Billy ThunderKloud in 1972. The band was renamed Billy ThunderKloud & The Chieftones and they landed a Nashville recording contract with Superior Records.
ThunderKloud moved to Nashville in 1974 and signed with 20th Century Records. He and the band debuted on the country charts the following year with What Time of Day.
His final appearance on the country charts was 1979’s It’s Alright. However, he continued to tour and make appearances until 1991.
He moved to Palm City, Florida where he passed away. ThunderKloud is survived by his wife Bev, his daughters Shawnee and Chey Kuzma, and his three grandchildren.
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