New Orleans music legend and funk pioneer Art Neville died Monday morning (July 22) at his home according to the Associated Press. He was 81. In an email, the Grammy-winning artist’s longtime manager, Kent Sorrell, confirmed that the icon died peacefully with his wife by his side.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards penned a touching tribute to the icon on Twitter, commemorating Neville’s everlasting impact on the Southern city.
“Louisiana lost an icon today,” Edwards wrote. “Whether it was singing with the Neville Brothers or mamboing with The Meters, Art Neville took the unique sound of New Orleans and played it for the world to enjoy.
“Art's talents left a mark on the industry, and his love of music touched the lives of many in Louisiana and around the globe. There are many talented people forever linked to our state's rich musical heritage and Art Neville will most certainly be in that number.”
No cause of death was provided, but the Associated Press reported that Neville had been battling complications from back surgery among other health issues. He recently announced his retirement from music in December.
The singer and keyboardist, born Arthur Lanon Neville, was instrumental in shaping the sound of New Orleans musical landscape over his 50-year career as co-founder of the Neville Brothers, The Meters, and The Funky Meters. His enduring song “Mardi Gras Mambo” has remained a staple of Carnival season. Over the span of his career, Neville received three Grammy Awards, including the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. He was also awarded the NAACP Image Award in 2006.
BET extends its deepest love and prayers to the Neville family at this time.
(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)