NEW ORLEANS, March 17 (UPI) -- Singer-songwriter-guitarist Alex Chilton, best known as a member of the Box Tops, died suddenly Wednesday in New Orleans a colleague said. He was 59.
Chilton, who sang such hits as "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby," had complained early Wednesday about not feeling well and was transported from his home to a New Orleans hospital where medical personnel were unable to revive him, John Fry -- an owner of Ardent Studios in Memphis and a longtime friend of Chilton's -- told The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal.
"I'm crushed. We're all just crushed," Fry said.
Chilton, a Memphis native who was 16 when the Box Tops released "The Letter," went solo in 1970 when the band broke up and eventually formed Big Star -- a '70s power-pop band -- with songwriter-guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens. The original band did not stay together but did re-form in the early '90s with other personnel.
All three of its albums were included in a 2003 Rolling Stone ranking of the 500 greatest albums of all time, The Commercial Appeal said.
Chilton had been scheduled to perform with Big Star Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Chilton is survived by his wife, Laura, and a son, Timothy.