Allen Toussaint, the legendary New Orleans musician responsible for such classics as "Lady Marmalade" and "Working in a Coal Mine," had just given a concert in Spain Monday night when rescue workers were called to his hotel early Tuesday. He suffered a heart attack, and though they revived him, he ultimately died en route to the hospital, the AP reports. He was 77. Toussaint started playing piano when he was seven, and by the time he was a teenager, he was invited to sit in for a recording session when Fats Domino couldn't be there. He went on to be one of New Orleans' most iconic musicians, a songwriter, producer, and performer who was a Grammy Trustees Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member.
The songs he wrote were recorded by many artists, Rolling Stone reports, including Jerry Garcia, Ringo Starr, Robert Palmer, Glen Campbell, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon, and the Rolling Stones; the AP says he had "hundreds of hits to his name." Toussaint blended soul, funk, and R&B into a musical style "that became emblematic of New Orleans," as Rolling Stone puts it. In addition, the studio he started with Marshall Sehorn was used by local musicians and huge stars (think Paul McCartney and Paul Simon) alike, WWL reports; Toussaint and Simon were set to perform together at a Dec. 8 benefit. After his home and studio were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Toussaint started touring frequently; he had just set off on his final tour Thursday and was planning to stop in Belgium and London. (Read more obituary stories.)