Phil Everly, one half of the Everly Brothers, has died, aged 74, in California, his family announces.
Phil Everly died in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank of complications from lung disease, his wife, Patti, told the Los Angeles Times.
“We are absolutely heartbroken,” Patti Everly said, adding that the disease was the result of a lifetime of smoking.
Phil Everly and his brother Don made up the Everly Brothers, one of the biggest pop acts of the 1950s and early 1960s.
They had a string of close-harmony hits including Wake Up Little Suzie, Cathy’s Clown, Bye Bye Love, and All I Have To Do Is Dream.
Phil Everly died on Friday of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his son Jason Everly told AP.
The Washington Post quoted a woman at Don Everly’s home as saying he was too upset to talk about the death of his brother.
“He expected to go first,” she told the newspaper.
Rolling Stone magazine calls the Everly Brothers “the most important vocal duo in rock”.
In its biography of the pair, the magazine says Phil and his older brother Don were the children of Midwestern country music singers Ike and Margaret Everly and performed on the family radio show while growing up.
In their heyday between 1957 and 1962, the Everly Brothers had 19 Top 40 hits, according to the Associated Press. They influenced acts such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Don and Phil Everly had an onstage breakup in 1973 that led to a decade-long estrangement, but Phil later told Time magazine the brothers’ relationship had survived this.
“Don and I are infamous for our split,” Phil Everly said, “but we’re closer than most brothers.”
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The Everly Brothers were elected to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in its first year, 1986, and they were given a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 1997.