Musician Ronnie Hawkins has died according to a post on The Band’s verified Facebook page.
Hawkins, 87, died Sunday according to a post by Robbie Robertson, a member of The Band.
“The story of The Band began with Ronnie Hawkins. He was our mentor. He taught us the rules of the road,” the post read.
According to The Band’s website, Hawkins was born in Arkansas, but called Canada his home. He was a member of the group Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks which rose to fame in the early 1960’s.
“Hawkins himself was practically Toronto’s answer to Elvis Presley,” The Band said on their website.
Roberston said on Facebook, “Ronnie was the godfather. The one who made this all happen. He had us rehearsing constantly into the wee hours. We balked about it, but we got better and better. Our goal whether we knew it or not.”
“After the Hawks left Ron and went out on our own, we joined up with Bob Dylan. Next the Hawks became The Band and the rest is history, as they say,” Robertson summarized. “All starting out with Ronnie Hawkins.”
Robertson said “He was not only a great artist, a tremendous performer and bandleader, but had a style of humor unequaled. Fall down funny and completely unique. Yep, God only made one of those. And he will live in our hearts forever.”
Robertson did not share a cause of death.