American pop singer Bobby Vee, the 1960s teen idol who is best remembered for hits such as “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “Run to Him”, has died in Minnesota after a lengthy illness. He was 73 years old.
Vee, who was originally from North Dakota, had been in hospice care at a care facility in Rogers, Minnesota, for the last 13 months of his life. He passed away on early Monday morning of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s kind of a blessing. There was no reason for him to suffer any longer,” Vee’s primary care physician and close friend, Dr. Rick Rysavy, told the St. Cloud Times. One of Vee’s children also confirmed his death to the Associated Press.
Vee’s rise to fame happened amid tragedy in February 1959, when his band “The Shadows” was asked to fill in at an event in Minnesota after rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Iowa.
The band’s performance was a success and thrust Vee, who was just 15 years old at the time, into the spotlight. His first single, “Suzie Baby”, achieved modest success but led to a contract with record label Liberty Records.
His first big break came just months later, in January 1960, when Vee released his cover of the song “Devil or Angel”, reaching number 6 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Chart. Later that year, the song “Rubber Ball” made him an international star, reaching number 1 in Australia and number 4 in Britain.
His biggest success came in 1961 when he released the song “Take Good Care of My Baby”, reaching number 1 in the United States and becoming a major hit internationally, reaching number 1 in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.
His other hits included “Run to Him” and “More Than I Can Say” in 1961, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” in 1962, and “Come Back When You Grow Up” in 1967. In all, he released 38 songs that reached the Billboard Top 100 charts in the United States.
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