Jerry Lee Lewis Dies at 87, Rep Confirms, After Previous Erroneous Death Report

Legendary rock and roll musician Jerry Lee Lewis has died, following a previous erroneous death report from TMZ. In a statement from one of Lewis's reps — sent to by email — the singer's death was announced, writing, "Somewhere in the world, in a mean little honky-tonk or big music hall or church basement rec room, someone is playing a Jerry Lee Lewis song. Wherever there is a piano, someone is shouting... 'You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain. Too much love drives a man insane...'"

"He suffered through the last years of his life from various illnesses and injuries that, his physicians have often said, should have taken him decades ago," the statement continued, "he had abused his body so thoroughly as a young man he was given little chance of lasting through middle age, let alone old age." Just before Lewis' death, the rep says his wife Judith told family, "He is ready to leave." The statement adds, "Lewis, who performed everything from 'Over the Rainbow' to Al Jolson, who played the Opry and the Apollo and even Shakespeare, was 87 years old."

On Wednesday, TMZ reported that Lewis had passed away, but quickly retracted their report. "Jerry Lee Lewis is not dead ... as we previously reported," the outlet stated in response to their misreporting. "We're told the rock 'n' roll legend is alive, living in Memphis. Earlier today we were told by someone claiming to be Lewis' rep that he had passed. That turned out not to be the case. TMZ regrets the error."


Lewis rep stated that the legendary performer "is survived by his wife, Judith Coghlan Lewis, his children Jerry Lee Lewis III, Ronnie Lewis, Pheobe Lewis and Lori Lancaster." He is also survived by his "sister Linda Gail Lewis, cousin Jimmy Swaggart and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Elmo and Mamie Lewis, sons Steve Allen Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis Jr., his siblings Elmo Lewis Jr. and Frankie Jean Lewis and his cousin Mickey Gilley."

At this time, there are funeral arrangements or memorial events announced. "Services and more information will be announced in the following days," Lewis' rep states. "In lieu of flowers, the Lewis family requests donations be made in Jerry Lee Lewis' honor to the Arthritis Foundation or MusiCares – the non-profit foundation of the GRAMMYs / National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences."