American Folk pioneer and social activist Pete Seeger died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, according to family members reports the New York Times. The folk icon was 94 years old.
Seeger’s storied career saw him play with fellow folk legend Woody Guthrie, blacklisted for being a member of the Communist Party, perform duos with a young Bob Dylan and pen and popularize several anti-war songs and civil rights anthems during the turbulent 1960s that are now regarded as American classics. Among the songs he wrote or co-wrote are “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
President Obama issued a statement Tuesday morning honoring both the singer’s musicianship and his activism. “Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community – to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be,” the statement read in part. “Over the years, Pete used his voice – and his hammer – to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along.”