Pete Seeger, an artist widely considered to be one of the forerunners of contemporary folk music, died Monday at the age of 94.
Seeger’s most successful songs included “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season),” “If I Had a Hammer (Hammer Song),” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” His cover of the gospel song “We Shall Overcome” also became an anthem of the civil-rights movement. He has been cited as an inspiration for artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
CNN reports that the singer died of natural causes in the New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday evening. It brought an end to a career that spanned across more than 70 years.
According to Business Week, the singer, along with Woody Guthrie, were two prominent figures in the revival of folk music in pop culture, particularly through the 1960s when there was a new-found interest in the genre.
Seeger was never a stranger to controversy, as he was one of the first artists to write songs about political and social matter, helping to popularize the now well-worn protest song. He was outspoken about his left wing political views, and in his later years, frequently played at benefit concerts.
Seeger had been in the hospital for six days before his death on Monday. His grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, told CNN that, while he couldn’t speak for the last three days, his mind never went and he continued to recognize people until his death.