Pete Seeger, a legendary folk singer and political activist, passed away on Jan. 27. He was 94 years old.
Pete Seeger died of natural causes on Jan. 27, surrounded by his family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson confirmed. The highly regarded musician, whose most popular songs include “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” was considered to be a pioneer of contemporary folk music.
Pete Seeger Dead: Folk Singer & Activist Passes Away At Age 94
Seeger was in the hospital for six days before his death, but died of natural causes in his sleep, FOX News reported.
Seeger’s 70-plus year career often ignited political controversy as he promoted left-wing views, and his grandson credits him for paving the way for new generations of outspoken artists.
“He lived at a time when so many things hadn’t been done yet, the idea of making music about something hadn’t really been done,” Kitama Cahill-Jackson said. “And now people do it all the time.”
“From the start, he aspired to use folk music to promote his left-wing political views, and in times of national turmoil that brought him into direct confrontation with the U.S. government, corporate interests, and people who did not share his beliefs,” biographer William Ruhlmann said of Pete on allmusic.com. “These conflicts shaped his career.”
Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He won a Grammy in 1997 for best traditional folk album for his album “Pete.”
He continued his political activism into his 90s: he even marched in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Manhattan in 2011, when he was 92 years old, joined by his grandson and Arlo Guthrie.
Seeger was most recently nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for a spoken word recording, “The Storm King.”
More On Pete Seeger’s Life:
Seeger was born in New York on May 3, 1919. He took up playing an obsolete instrument — the five-string banjo — in his teens, and really made it his own.
He had a heart valve surgery in Dec. 2013 which he recovered from, and was not the cause of his death.
Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in July 2013. He is survived by his daughters, Mika and Tinya, and son Daniel.
Our thoughts are with Pete’s family at this difficult time.
— Kristine Hope Kowalski