[UPDATE 10/28/22]: Jerry Lee Lewis has died at age 87. The rock n’ roll pioneer’s team confirmed his passing in a statement issued on Friday, October 28th.

“Lewis, perhaps the last true, great icon of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, whose marriage of blues, gospel, country, honky-tonk and raw, pounding stage performances so threatened a young Elvis Presley that it made him cry, has died,” read the announcement, per TMZ.

TMZ had initially reported on Wednesday, October 26th that Lewis had passed, but later retracted the story when it proved inaccurate.

Jerry Lee Lewis, nicknamed “The Killer,” made waves in the earliest days of rock n’ roll with hit songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, paving the way for generations of rebellious music. His legacy is decidedly mixed, however, as he was widely condemned by the general public after he married his 13-year-old cousin in 1957.


[10/27/22]: A trend that has popped up in the last couple of years is what’s known as a “living funeral,” in which the friends and family of a person gather to pay their respects as if they were at an actual memorial service. The only difference is, the person is alive and present to hear all the loving—and maybe not so loving—things people have to say about them. Rock n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis was the recipient of a sort of living funeral this week, only everybody else thought it was the real deal.

On Wednesday, TMZ reported the death of the 87-year-old “Great Balls of Fire” singer before quickly retracting the story. In the interim, however, the celebrity news site set off a wave of tributes and social media mourning as other outlets picked up the bogus report before being forced to offer their own retractions.

“He’s alive,” Lewis’ rep plainly told Variety. “TMZ reported erroneously off of a bullshit anonymous tip.”

Related: Unreleased Rory Gallagher & Jerry Lee Lewis “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” Cover Shared By UMG [Listen]

The inaccurate death report came as Lewis battles the flu, which caused him to miss an induction ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 16th. Lewis tapped fellow Hall of Famer Kris Kristofferson to accept the award on his behalf, with the Highwayman traveling to Memphis to hand-deliver the medallion to The Killer.

Though Lewis suffered a stroke in 2019, there has been a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” in his world lately. In 2020 the singer-songwriter announced plans to record an album of gospel covers with producer T-Bone Burnett. This year also saw the release of Ethan Coen‘s documentary on the musician, Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble In Mind, for A24.