Priscilla Presley, the ex-wife of Elvis Presley, paid tribute to drummer Ronnie Tutt, who died on Oct. 16. Tutt was a longtime member of Elvis' TCB Band, which backed the King of Rock and Roll during the last decade of his life. Tutt, a prolific studio drummer who also performed with Billy Joel and Neil Diamond, was 83.
"Rest In Peace my friend," Presley, 76, wrote on Instagram on Oct. 17. "Your sweet soul and great talent captured us all. Elvis always bragged how you intuitively could keep up with his stage moves. Even when he tried to trick you... My heart goes out to you Donna for your loss. And to the TCB band members, James and Glenn. You will be forever missed." She included a recent photo she took with Tutt.
Elvis Presley Enterprises also issued a statement on the Graceland website, praising him as a "good friend to many of us" at the Memphis landmark. "We enjoyed each time he joined us here to celebrate Elvis Week, Elvis' Birthday and many other special occasions," the statement read. "Ronnie was an amazing ambassador to Elvis' legacy - sharing his memories of working with Elvis with fans - as well as bringing Elvis' music to arenas around the globe through later Elvis in Concert shows and performances."
"Loved him on stage so much energy on the drums," one fan wrote on Presley's Instagram page. "We will miss him... RIP Ronnie.. Prayers for his family and friends," another wrote. "Glad I got the honor of meeting this great man. RIP," another fan commented.
Tutt's wife Donna told TMZ on Oct. 17 that the drummer died of natural causes at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. He was surrounded by his family. He chose not to be hospitalized, as he knew doctors could do nothing more for his heart condition, Donna said. She told TMZ his body "had enough," adding he "couldn't play another drum lick."
Tutt joined Elvis' TCM (Takin' Care of Business) Band in 1969, beginning with Elvis' first Las Vegas residency. He continued performing with Elvis until the singer's death in 1977. While still performing with Elvis, Tutt also toured and recorded with Jerry Garcia in Garcia's projects outside the Grateful Dead. Tutt also played drums on Joel's Piano Man and Streetlife Serenade albums and was Diamond's touring drummer. Tutt also performed with Lindsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Kenny Rogers, Michael McDonald, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Elvis Costello, and many more.