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Drummer Ed Shaughnessy Dies at 84

Ed Shaughnessy

Celebrated drummer Ed Shaughnessy has died. According to CNN, the musician passed away at his home in Calabasas, Calif. on Friday morning (May 24) after suffering a heart attack. He was 84 years old.

Best known for his three decades as the drummer on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,’ the drummer performed with a Who’s Who of the most important popular musicians of the 20th century, including a 1969 performance on the show with Jimi Hendrix. He was notable for his drum battles with Buddy Rich, who often appeared on the show at the peak of his success. The drummer also played with a number of jazz greats including Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.

“Every drummer has his story to tell of how kind and generous of spirit he was,” says Robyn Flans, a longtime friend who co-wrote ‘Lucky Drummer,’ Shaughnessy’s memoir. “He influenced so many people. He was the guy. He was on television every night reaching all those people. You always saw the smile behind the kit. That was my Eddie.”

Flans tells CNN the drummer’s health had been deteriorating for several weeks, and they had gone to the hospital the night before his death.

Shaughnessy was preceded in death by his wife Ilene, who was the voice of Disney’s Cinderella. He is survived by his son, Dan.

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2013

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