NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Art Neville, a member of one of New Orleans' storied musical families, the Neville Brothers, and a founding member of the groundbreaking funk band The Meters, has died at age 81.
Neville's manager, Kent Sorrell, confirmed that Neville died Monday morning. The cause of death was not immediately available but Neville had battled a number of health issues including complications from back surgery.
Neville announced his retirement in December.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement on his death:
“Louisiana lost an icon today. 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," Gov. Edwards said. "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. We will miss him dearly, and Donna and I are keeping his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
In 1954 he was barely 17 when he sang the lead on the Hawketts' remake of a country song called "Mardi Gras Mambo."
More than 60 years later, the song is still a staple of the Carnival season.
The other members of the Neville Brothers included Charles, Cyril, and Aaron. Charles died in 2018.