Fats Domino Dies; Rock Pioneer Was 89

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Fats Domino--the rock music trailblazer whose signature sound influenced generations of performers--has died at the age of 89.

Domino reportedly passed away at a private residence near his hometown of New Orleans.

Fats Domino Photo

News of his death was confirmed this morning by the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in Louisiana.

With five records selling more than a million copies, and an astonishing 35 hits charting on the Billboard Top 40, Domino was one of the most successful rock acts of the 1950s.

But while his popularity may have diminished over the years, his influence only grew.

Artists such as Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones have all credited Fats for his impact on the ways and which they wrote, performed, and thought about music.

Domino is often credited as helping rock gain mainstream acceptance, a process that took a major leap forward when Fats performed his hits "Ain't That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill" on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. 

Fats Domino Image

Domino's success continued from there, with records such as "I'm Walkin'" and "Walking to New Orleans" shattering expectations of what was possible for a rock musician.

Still in his twenties when he first became a national sensation, Domino's affable demeanor and quick wit soon made him a success in Hollywood, as well.

He appeared in two films in 1956 alone, Shake, Rattle & Rock! and The Girl Can't Help It, both of which enjoyed modest success at the box office.

But it was on stage where Domino had his greatest impact.

After teaching himself to play piano as a child, Antoine Domino Jr.--the eighth child of French Creole parents--went on to become one of the world's most in-demand live performers.

Fats Domino Pic

In 1986, Domino was one of the first acts inducted in the newly-opened Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2005, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at 25 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."

News of Domino's death instantly made his name the number one worldwide trending topic on Twitter, with musicians of all ages and genres paying loving tribute to a true rock and roll pioneer.

Domino is survived by eight children.

His wife of 60 years, Rosemary Domino, passed away in 2008.

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