Alex Chilton, the singer and guitarist known for his vocals on the Box Tops’ 1967 hit The Letter and a cult favorite to many of the past two decades' musicians, died today at 59. A heart attack is believed to the culprit, the Commercial Appeal of Chilton’s native Memphis reports; he had complained earlier today of heart issues in New Orleans, where he’d moved.
“I’m crushed. We’re all just crushed,” says the record exec behind Chilton’s other band, the 1970s power-pop act Big Star (whose songs were covered by the likes of Wilco, Beck, REM, Garbage and Bat For Lashes, Rolling Stone notes). “This sudden death experience is never something that you’re prepared for.”