|Tony Joe White July 23, 1943 – October 24, 2018|
He was 75, according to CBS News.
A statement released Thursday from the record label Yep Roc Music Group said White's family confirmed the rocker died Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee. The label did not have any details on his cause of death.
CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF reports that family members said he wasn't ill and his death came as a shock to them and the music community.
Yep Roc released his last album in September called "Bad Mouthin,'" a collection of blues classics.
White, originally from Louisiana, had a hit in 1969 with "Polk Salad Annie" and his songs were covered by Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr., Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings and many more.
In his five decades as a singer-songwriter, White was best known for his swamp rock style mixing blues, country and rock 'n' roll, which earned him the nickname the Swamp Fox especially with his fans overseas. With his deep growling voice, his song about the Southern greens wasn't an immediate hit, but months after its release it eventually became a pop hit.
White told The Associated Press in 2006 that in the late '60s many people thought he was singing about something else.
"Back then, people thought polk salad was grass," White said. "They'd bring me bags of grass backstage and say, 'Hey, we brought you a little polk.'"
Raised on a cotton farm in Goodwill, Louisiana, about 20 miles west of the Mississippi River, he became infatuated with the hypnotic sound of Lightnin' Hopkins and has often cited hearing the song "Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry as his inspiration for songwriting.
After the success of "Polk Salad Annie," R&B artist Brook Benton had a hit in 1970 with White's song "Rainy Night in Georgia," which also became a song often covered by other artists.
Jennings and White also wrote "Trouble Man," which Jennings recorded in 1989. White worked with Turner on her critically acclaimed and popular "Foreign Affair" album in 1989, contributing four songs and playing guitar and harmonica.