Phil Everly, known along with his brother Don for influencing some of rock and roll’s greatest acts, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 74.
Everly passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by a lifetime of smoking, his wife Patti Everly, told The Los Angeles Times.
“We are absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “He fought long and hard.”
The Everly Brothers are revered as pioneers of the rock era but remained rooted in folk and country, influencing the like of the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. Though mostly associated with the late 1950s and early 1960s — when the duo notched 19 top 40 hits — their career stretched over five decades. The two were inducted in the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and were also members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. They broke up suddenly in 1973, when Phil walked off stage during a concert, but reunited in 1983.
Phil Everly’s last public performance was in 2011, but his son Jason Everly told the Associated Press on Friday that his father had been actively writing songs.