NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Famous New Orleans jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain died early Saturday morning.
The 86-year-old legend passed away of heart failure at 5:08 a.m. according to his family. He suffered numerous health complications over the years and had been in hospice care in New Orleans.
"It's a sad day for his family. And it's sad too for all of New Orleans. Pete and his clarinet brought a lot of love and music to the world. He will greatly be missed." said Benny Harrell, Pete Fountain's son-in-law and longtime manager.
From Bourbon Street nightclubs to the White House, Fountain's influence impacted lives throughout his 60-year career. He was the founder of The Half-Fast Walking Club and is most known for his influence in traditional New Orleans and Dixieland jazz music. He performed his last show at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2013.
Fountain was well known to television fans through his appearances on the Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson shows. He traced his musical style to Benny Goodman and Irving Fazola.
Fountain grew up listening to Goodman's records, but Fazola was playing in the French Quarter where Fountain could listen first-hand. The result was Fountain's distinctive combination of swing and Dixieland.
Information on funeral arrangements accompanied by a traditional New Orleans second line is expected to be released later.