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Influential Bluegrass musician J.D. Crowe has died

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FILE – Del McCoury, center; Bobby Osborne, left; and J. D. Crowe, right; perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards show on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Influential Bluegrass musician J.D. Crowe died early Friday, Dec. 24, 2021 his family announced on social media. The Lexington, Kentucky, native was 84. No cause of death was given.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grammy-winning bluegrass musician J.D. Crowe, whose influential career spanned more than 50 years, has died. He was 84.

His son, David, confirmed the death on Saturday to The Associated Press.

“We just want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. As great of a musician as dad was, he was even better husband, father and friend,” David said in a brief message.

Crowe died Friday of undisclosed causes, the family earlier announced via Facebook.

Born James Dee Crowe in 1937, his career included stints with Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, Mac Wiseman and his own band, the Kentucky Mountain Boys, which later became the New South.

According to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, his path was set in 1949 when, at the age of 12, he heard Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys play at a barn dance in Lexington.

“Crowe was an innovator on the banjo and influenced countless musicians with his technique and style,” read a post on the website of the Owensboro, Kentucky-based hall, where Crowe was inducted in 2003.

Social media tributes poured in from the music world.

“He was an absolute legend,” eclectic bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings wrote on Twitter. “He will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play bluegrass music. He had tone, taste and TIMING like no other.”

Crowe won a Grammy award in 1983 for best country instrumental performance for his song “Fireball.”

He is survived by his wife, Sheryl; his children, David and Stacey; and a granddaughter, Kylee.

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