Soul Deep: RIP Alex Chilton

Stunningly sad news just breaking that Alex Chilton died this afternoon of a heart attack.

Chilton was truly one of the big ones, an impossibly, ridiculously, talented writer and performer. As Whetjust noted on Twitter, of the uber-hitThe Letter:

alex chilton: SIXTEEN WHEN HE RECORDED THIS

Alex-Chilton_t300

I remember in the early awful days of Katrina aftermath, Chilton was one of the NOLA musicians whose whereabouts no one was able to confirm for a few days. I remember what a gift it felt like, in the middle of that huge sad story, to hear he was okay after all. When I heard the news tonight, I immediately hoped this story would have the same ending, but his death appears to have beenconfirmed.

Pop hitmaker, cult hero, and Memphis rock iconoclast Alex Chilton has died.

The singer and guitarist, best known as a member of ’60s pop-soul act the Box Tops and the ’70s power-pop act Big Star, died today at a hospital in New Orleans. Chilton, 59, had been complaining of about his health earlier today. He was taken by paramedics to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.

His Big Star bandmate Jody Stephens confirmed the news this evening. “Alex passed away a couple of hours ago,” Stephens said from Austin, Texas, where the band was to play Saturday at the annual South By Southwest Festival. “I don’t have a lot of particulars, but they kind of suspect that it was a heart attack.”

UPDATED: for those who may not be familiar with Chilton, who don’t understand why this is such a big loss, Balk over at The Awl sums it up perfectly, without exaggerating one bit:

Alex Chilton, who pretty much influenced everything that influenced the music you listen to now, has died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

3 thoughts on “Soul Deep: RIP Alex Chilton

  1. Adrastos says:

    Ouch. This is the first I’ve heard. Bummer, man.

  2. liprap says:

    First I’d heard too. Dammit all to hell.

  3. mike says:

    no one could understimate Alex, except those who’ve never experienced his genius. it’s so sad that he never got the recognition he so richly deserved. may his voice echo through our minds and hearts, running soul deep. he was, and will always be, a Big Star.

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