The music world has lost one of its greatest pianists, songwriters and composers. New Orleans native Allen Toussaint died Monday while on tour in Europe. He was 77 years old.
As a pioneer in the New Orleans music scene, Toussaint was known for composing scores such as "Ruler of My Heart," "A Certain Girl," "Fortune Teller," "Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)" and "Working on a Coal Mine."
Toussaint was on tour in Spain Monday and, according to his Facebook page, had been scheduled to play in Madrid and in Belgium, as well as at his annual benefit concert, New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, with Paul Simon Dec. 8.
In 1998 Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the organization noted his contributions to music by saying that he "brought the New Orleans sound to the national stage, and it remains a vital and ongoing part of our musical heritage to this day."
According to WWLT, Toussaint also played a pivotal role during New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina and was honored by President Barack Obama when he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
"After his hometown was battered by Katrina and Allen was forced to evacuate, he did something even more important for his city—he went back," President Obama said at the award ceremony in 2013. "And since then, Allen has devoted his musical talent to lifting up and building up a city. And today he's taking the stage all over the world, with all kinds of incredible talent, doing everything he can to revive the legendary soul of the Big Easy."
Toussaint is survived by his two children, Clarence and Alison, as well as several grandchildren.