BREAKING: Big Star's Alex Chilton Dead at 59

We just received confirmation of this. More forthcoming.

UPDATE: From the Memphis Commercial Appeal paper, from Chilton's beloved hometown:

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."

Dream on, Alex:

More from the Memphis Commercial Appeal article:

  • "The Memphis-born Chilton rose to prominence at age 16, when his gruff vocals powered Box Tops massive hit 'The Letter.' The band would score several more hits, including "Cry Like a Baby" and 'Neon Rainbow.'"
  • After the breakup of the Box Tops, Chilton "joined forces with a group of Anglo-pop-obsessed musicians, fellow songwriter/guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, to form Big Star."
  • "In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine would name all three Big Star albums to its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
  • "In the mid-'70s Chilton began what would be a polarizing solo career, releasing several albums of material."
  • "In the early '80s, Chilton left Memphis for New Orleans, where he worked a variety of jobs and stopped performing for several years. But interest in his music from a new generation of alternative bands, including R.E.M. and the Replacements, brought him back to the stage in the mid-'80s."
  • Chilton was due to play shows this year with a reformed version of Big Star.

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