Musician Ronnie Hawkins has died according to a post on The Band’s verified Facebook page.
Hawkins, 87, died on Sunday according to a message from Robbie Robertson, member of The Band.
“The Band’s story began with Ronnie Hawkins. He was our mentor. He taught us the rules of the road,” the post read.
According to The Band’s website, Hawkins was born in Arkansas, but called Canada his home. He was a member of the band Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks which rose to fame in the early 1960s.
“Hawkins himself was practically Toronto’s answer to Elvis Presley,” The Band said on its website.
Robertton said on Facebook: “Ronnie was the godfather. The one who made it all possible. He made us rehearse constantly until dawn. We hesitated, but we got better and better. Our goal, whether we know it or not.
“After the Hawks left Ron and went out on their own, we joined Bob Dylan. Then the Hawks became The Band and the rest is history, as they say,” Robertson summarized. “It all started with Ronnie Hawkins.”
Robertson said: “He was not only a great entertainer, terrific performer and conductor, but he had an unrivaled style of humor. Fall funny and completely unique. Yes, God made only one. And he will live in our hearts forever.
Robertson did not share a cause of death.