Fats Domino has died aged 89, an official from New Orleans coroner's office has confirmed. The singer was one of the most influential rock and roll stars of the fifties, best known for his hits Blueberry Hill, Ain't That A Shame and Walking To New Orleans. Domino passed away at home in Louisiana surrounded by his family and friends; US media have reported that he died of natural causes.
The New Orleans singer sold more than 65 million records. His first, The Fat Man, was released in 1949 and was widely considered to be the first ever rock and roll record. His music influenced artists in the sixties and seventies, including Elvis Presley, who said "this gentleman was a huge influence on me when I started out".
Fats Domino was best known for his hits Blueberry Hill and Ain't That A Shame
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By the 1980s, Domino – full name Antoine Domino Jr. – decided he would no longer leave New Orleans. He was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Domino refused to leave his home city even to accept the award. He had a comfortable income from royalties and a dislike of touring, claiming he could not get any food that he liked anywhere else. Domino even turned down an invitation to perform at the White House.
Tributes have been pouring in for the popular musician. KT Tunstall tweeted: "Thank you Fats Domino, you were an amazing music teacher on your records." Fellow New Orleans singer Harry Connick Jr posted: "RIP fats domino... you helped pave the way for new orleans piano players... see you on top of that blueberry hill in the sky." Actor Harry Shearer, also from New Orleans, tweeted: "RIP one of New Orleans' musical giants, Antoine "Fats" Domino. Ain't that a shame." Samuel L. Jackson also wrote: "I found My Thrill on " Blueberry Hill"! RIP Fats Domino."