Ronnie Hawkins, a brash rockabilly star from Arkansas who became a patron of the Canadian music scene after moving north and recruiting a handful of local musicians later known as the Band, has died.

His wife Wanda confirmed to The Canadian Press that Hawkins died Sunday morning after an illness. He was 87. “He went peacefully and he looked as handsome as ever,” she said by telephone.

Born just two days after Elvis Presley, the Huntsville native friends called “The Hawk” (He also nicknamed himself “The King of Rockabilly” and “Mr. Dynamo”) was a hell-raiser with a big jaw and a stocky build.

He had minor hits in the 1950s with “Mary Lou” and “Odessa” and ran a club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where acts included such early rock stars as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitty.

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