Bluegrass music pioneer Ralph Stanley dead

Ralph Stanley was one of the founding fathers and great originals of American bluegrass music.

Published: 24th June 2016 02:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2016 02:49 PM   |  A+A-

By IANS

LOS ANGELES: Ralph Stanley, one of the founding fathers and great originals of American bluegrass music, has passed away after battling skin cancer. He was 89.

Bluegrass is a form of American roots music and a related genre of country music.

His grandson, Nathan, posted on his Facebook page that Ralph died after a long battle with skin cancer, reports variety.com. He died on Thursday at his home in Sandy Ridge, Virginia.

“My heart is broken into pieces. My papaw, my dad, and the greatest man in the world, Ralph Stanley has went home to be with Jesus just a few minutes ago. He went peacefully in his sleep due to a long, horrible battle with skin cancer," Nathan wrote. 

Partnered with his older brother Carter, Ralph helped develop the “high lonesome” sound of bluegrass, the virtuosic string band music established in the late 1940s by singer-mandolinist Bill Monroe and his dissident sidemen, guitarist Lester Flatt and banjoist Earl Scruggs. 

Ralph always backed away from the “bluegrass” label, however, choosing to associate his highly personalised style with a more venerable type of music.

Winner of three Grammy Awards, Ralph was honoured with the National Medal of the Arts in 2006.

His survivors include his wife, Jimmi; son, Ralph II; and daughter, Jeanie.

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