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Just a few days after fellow musicians gathered to honor him in Austin, one of the founding fathers of the Red Dirt Music scene has passed away.

Texas-born Jimmy LaFave died May 21 at the age of 61 after a difficult battle with cancer.

Jimmy had just appeared on stage Thursday, May 19, at the Jimmy LaFave Songwriter Rendezvous tribute at Austin’s Paramount Theater according to the Dallas News. Confined to a wheelchair, the weakened singer-songwriter delivered a tender performance of “Goodnight, Irene” with an emotional audience singing along.

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Before exiting the stage, he told the audience he loved them and then made a heartbreaking request. “This is my son Jackson. Take care of him for me, please,” he said. “I love him so very, very much. He’s a great kid. Take him into the community and nurture him.”

Jimmy moved to Stillwater, Okla., as a teenager and became one a force in the regional music scene that also included Woody Guthrie, Bob Childers and The Red Dirt Rangers. His musical influence can be heard in contemporary popular Red Dirt favorites like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland and Brandon Jenkins.

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The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame had recently announced that Jimmy would be among this year’s inductees at their ceremony, coming up on June 14.

Our thoughts are with Jimmy’s family during this tragic time.

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