‘Mr Bojangles’ singer Jerry Jeff Walker dies aged 78

Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017

American country singer Jerry Jeff Walker has died aged 78, following a battle with cancer.

Representatives for Walker confirmed to Pitchfork that the singer died yesterday (October 23) of cancer-related complications.

Walker was most famous for his 1968 song ‘Mr Bojangles’, which was popularised a number of years later through a version by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Since then, it has been covered by some of the biggest artists on earth, including Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Nina Simone, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr. and more.

A host of musicians have taken to social media to pay tribute to Walker following news of his death.

Jason Isbell wrote: “One day I’d like to be an old man who dances onstage like John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker.” Prine, another country legend, died in April from coronavirus complications.

American showrunner Brian Koppelman added: “I know that 90% of the people reading this never heard of Guy Clark or Jerry Jeff Walker. Go listen to JJW’s version of LA Freeway to get why they matter so much to the other 10%. Then dive deep into their cataloged. Rip JJW.”

Growing up and beginning his music career in New York in the 1960s, Walker moved to Austin, Texas the following decade and is considered to be a pivotal figure in the development of the now-world-famous music scene in the city.

He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017 and released his final album ‘About Time’, the following year.

He is survived by his wife Susan Streit and their two children.