Legendary musician Chuck Berry – credited with virtually inventing rock and roll – has died aged 90, according to police in Missouri.
St Charles County Police department said Charles Edward Anderson Berry, better known as Chuck Berry, had been found unresponsive by emergency services at a house and they had been unable to revive him.
Tributes came from Sir Mick Jagger, who said Berry's music had "lit up our teenage years", Bruce Springsteen, who said the star was "the greatest pure rock and roll writer who ever lived", and Slash, once of Guns N' Roses, who put it simply: "He was undisputedly the king."
The Grammy award-winning singer, known for hits including "Johnny B Goode" and "Roll Over Beethoven", had announced on his 90th birthday in October that he was to release a new album – his first for 38 years. It is expected to come out this year.
A police spokeswoman said: "Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1.26pm.
"The St Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr, better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.
"The family requests privacy during this time of bereavement."
Mr Berry was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Tunes such as "Rock and Roll Music", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and "Carol" were described as "danceable, youthful and relatable – driven by the delicious tension between Berry's precise vocals and his elegant (and exuberant) renegade guitar riffs", the citation said.
“While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together."
That was a line which echoed a remark by John Lennon who was certain about the scale of Berry's impact.
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry,'" the Beatle once said.
But Lennon also made clear Berry's appeal was not just about the music. "He was singing good lyrics, and intelligent lyrics, in the '50s when people were singing, "Oh, baby, I love you so,"' he said.
His skill as a guitarist inspired a generation, including the likes of Keith Richards, who admitted he "lifted every lick" from Berry, and others such as George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, and Pete Townshend of the Who.
Such was his acclaim, that when Nasa launched the unmanned Voyager I in 1977, the only rock and roll song on an album of music sent in the hope it might be found by extra-terrestrials was "Johnny B. Goode".
But Berry also had a reputation for being difficult at times.
Talking about a fight between them, Jerry Lee Lewis, said: "He whupped my butt ... He said he was the king of rock 'n' roll and I said I was. And he said he was and he proved he was. I don't argue with him no more."
Lewis also remarked his mother had told him: "Now you and Elvis are pretty good but you ain't Chuck Berry."
Berry had a number of brushes with the law, including at least three spells in prison.
In pictures: Chuck Berry
In pictures: Chuck Berry
Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry in Chicago, Illinois
Chuck Berry receives the 'Goldene Kamera' Award 2008 at the Ullsteinhalle in Berlin, Germany
Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry struts his signature 'duck walk' while playing his Gibson guitar, to the delight of fans, during a 1980 Hollywood, California, concert at the Palladium
US singer and musician Chuck Berry performs in the central French city of Orleans
US President Bill Clinton welcomes Chuck Berry to the White House in Washington, DC during a reception for the 2000 Kennedy Center Honourees
Musician Chuck Berry shakes hands with musician Elvis Costello as Paul Simon applauds during the 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts
Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry poses for a portrait holding his Gibson hollow body electric guitar in circa 1958
Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry perform 'Johnny B. Good' to open The Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
American rock 'n' roll star Chuck Berry
Rock 'n' Roll legends Little Richard and Chuck Berry perform for the first time together during an appearance on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' at the NBC studios in Burbank, California
Influential American singer and songwriter Chuck Berry
Rock 'n' roll legend, singer, songwriter and guitarist Chuck Berry arrives at Heathrow Airport with his wife Thematta
Evening Standard/Getty Images
A view of Chuck Berry's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star in Hollywood, California
He served three years of a 10-year sentence after a joy-riding trip that involved armed robbery and stealing cars in 1944.
In 1960, when he was an established star, he was found guilty by an all-white jury of breaking laws banning the transportation of a minor from one state to another for “immoral purposes”. The charges were vacated after the judge made racist comments, but he served half of a three-year term after another trial.
He served 120 days in prison for tax offences in 1979 and later paid $1.3m to former female employees who sued him for filming them in his restaurant’s bathroom.
"Every 15 years … It seems I make a big mistake," Berry wrote in his memoir.
Despite such troubles, as soon as the news of Berry's death was released, tributes began pouring in.
Sir Mick Jagger tweeted: "I am so sad to hear of Chuck Berry's passing. I want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave to us.
"He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers.
"His lyrics shone above others & threw a strange light on the American dream. Chuck you were amazing & your music is engraved inside us forever."
Bruce Springsteen said: "Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived."
The Jacksons said on Twitter: "Chuck Berry merged blues & swing into the phenomenon of early rock 'n' roll. In music, he cast one of the longest shadows. Thank You Chuck."
Slash, the former Guns N' Roses guitarist, said: "Heart broken to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry. He was undisputedly the king."
Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale said: "So sad to share the news of the exceptional Chuck Berry's passing...RIP Chuck..."
Epic Records chairman LA Reid said: "Music was changed forever by Chuck Berry's indescribable impact. What a great life in music."
Singer-songwriter Huey Lewis said Berry was "maybe the most important figure in all of rock and roll. His music and his influence will last forever."
When he announced he had completed a new album last year, Berry dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta.
"This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy," he said. "My darlin' I'm growing old! I've worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!"
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report
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