73 years old, and suffering from Alzheimer's, the last I heard he was working on a new album with his sons. Despite his difficulties, he could still play guitar and sing.
He was first picked up in February 1959, after Buddy Holly died. The organizers of the Winter Dance party tour needed to replace Buddy.
Bobby Vee was a local guy who had a similar sound, so he was hired, and the rest is Rock n Roll history.
His early recordings were similar in style to the early Crickets' sound, and to his fans it was always his ballads that caught us: but in the 1960s he developed a more contemporary style. The Night has a Thousand Eyes, and Rubber Ball sold millions of copies.
I suppose everybody has their favourite track, and for me, as always, it would have to be an epic ballad. Suzie Baby was one of the early recordings, (Bob Dylan covered the song in his early career) but as great as the original release was, I of course stumbled across an alternative take (on You Tube) which was too long and complicated for the commercial market, but so wonderful.