D.J. Fontana, a rock 'n' roll pioneer who rose from strip joints in his native Shreveport, Louisiana, to the heights of musical history as Elvis Presley's first and longtime drummer, has died at 87, his wife said Thursday.
Karen Fontana told The Associated Press that her husband died in his sleep in Nashville on Wednesday night. She said he'd been suffering complications from breaking his hip in 2016.
"He was loved by everybody all over the world. He treated everybody like everybody was his friend," she said. Presley's former wife, Priscilla Presley, issued a statement calling Fontana "a tremendously talented musician and a wonderful man."