Beloved country musician Jerry Jeff Walker died on Friday, and he is fondly remembered by the community of his peers on social media. According to an obituary published on Legacy.com, Walker died of cancer at a hospital in Austin, Texas. He was 78 years old at the time of his death.
Walker was most well-known as the writer of "Mr. Bojangles," an iconic tune he penned about a man he met while in a jail cell in New Orleans, Louisiana. The song took on a life of its own and was recorded by several big artists, such as Sammy Davis Jr. and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. While he was originally a native New Yorker, Walker opted to settle down in Austin, Texas, in the 1970s. "The mid-’70s in Austin were the busiest, the craziest, the most vivid and intense and productive period of my life," he wrote of the city in his 1999 memoir, Gypsy Songman.
"Greased by drugs and alcohol, I was also raising the pursuit of wildness and weirdness to a fine art," Walker added. "I didn’t just burn the candle at both ends, I was also finding new ends to light." Following the news of his death, many fellow country and folk artists have been memorializing the late singer and songwriter. Scroll down to read what they are saying about him.
"She Knows Her Daddy Sings" was one of the songs I used to play for my girls when they were little. Thinking back on those days today....and missing you, Jerry Jeff Walker. Thank you for the songs. pic.twitter.com/posD7Nba3S— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) October 24, 2020
"I’ll never forget my buddy Django Walker a couple years walking up to me and saying “hey man I want you to meet my dad” and there he was, Jerry Jeff. I was so taken back that the man himself was right there. A true legend. Listened to him for my whole life. RIP to a true legend." - Parker McCollumprevnext
RIP Jerry Jeff Walker. Big part of the heart of our Outlaw Country SXM CH 60 format. Big loss. We’re all trying to write our own Mr. Bojangles. Travel well my friend.— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) October 25, 2020
"Jerry Jeff Walker had a tremendous impact on my musical journey. His music broadened the definition of Country music which opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities one has when writing a song. I think we'll all miss him. He was one of a kind." - Robert Earl Keenprevnext
Jerry Jeff Walker died yesterday. He was an absolute treasure in my life & a real hero.— Jack Ingram (@JackIngram) October 24, 2020
Every time you have ever seen me jump off some kind of cliff on stage like a teenage kid on a BMX bike and you thought, WTF is he trying to do... & then we nail the landing! Jerry Jeff Walker! pic.twitter.com/b0cHaPNxsK
"Me and @amandashires were backing up @ToddSnider one night in Austin and Jerry Jeff jumped up and did Mr Bojangles with us, and he took his shoes off when got onstage so he could dance... One day I’d like to be an old man who dances onstage like John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker." - Jason Isbellprevnext
These are just a couple of the instances where JJW’s music has been present and meaningful in my life. I think it's safe to say that if you're an artist from Texas, he's played some role in shaping your music.— Cody Johnson (@codyjohnson) October 24, 2020
"Thank you Jerry Jeff for making music that made us love, smile, and feel inspired. My deepest condolences go out to his family; you are in our prayers." - Cody Johnsonprevnext
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
"Damn. Just heard that Jerry Jeff Walker has passed on. From the moment I first heard 'hiiiii buckaroos' as a kid, on what would become a very worn out copy of Great Gonzos, he’s been a major part of my life’s soundtrack and a huge influence as an artist. Rest easy, Gypsy Songman." - Libby Kochprevnext
"Lost my buddy [Jerry Jeff Walker] last night! One of the great Lone Star bad asses. [He] gave me a gig in the 70s when he was the king in my neck of the woods. Adios Amigo. Tell [Guy Clark] I said hey." - Kix Brooksprevnext
His voice is in my bones.— Gretchen Peters (@gretchenpeters) October 24, 2020
I feel like part of my teenagerhood is gone. RIP #JerryJeffWalker
"One of the first concerts I ever went to was Jerry Jeff Walker. I was playing for tips outside the club and the bouncer snuck me in because I was underage. Requiescat in Pace Mr. Bojangles." - Jarrod Johnsonprev