November 10, 2015


Allen Toussaint, New Orleans R&B Pioneer, Dies at 77

Jordi Vidal/Redferns
Jordi Vidal/Redferns

Allen Toussaint, New Orleans–born R&B icon, died on Monday (Nov. 9) in Spain at the age of 77. 

An email from his daughter, Alison Toussaint-LeBeaux, to the New York Times says that the cause of death was likely a heart attack. Toussaint reportedly collapsed in a Madrid hotel after a concert.

Toussaint released his first album in 1958; his most recent collection was 2013's Songbook. "Throughout his career," the Times writes, "Mr. Toussaint embodied the traditions of the New Orleans R&B scene, working as one of the city’s most prolific and influential songwriters and producers during the 1960s and 70s."

Toussaint's songs were widely covered, with homages coming from the Rolling StonesBonnie Raitt and Jerry Garcia. He entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and was given the National Medal for the Arts in 2013. He is survived by his two children and several granchildren.

Footage of Toussaint's final performance is already making the rounds: