Iconic bluegrass star Earl Scruggs has died. He was 88.
The banjo pioneer passed away at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday (28Mar12) from natural causes, according to his son Gary.
Scruggs was credited with elevating the banjo from a comedy prop to a lead instrument by changing the sound using his own playing technique, dubbed 'the Scruggs picking style'.
He first gained prominence in the 1940s as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. He would later team up with fellow Monroe band member Lester Flatt to form Flatt and Scruggs, and one of their famous efforts was the theme tune to classic 1960s show The Beverly Hillbillies.
Funnyman and banjo musician Steve Martin called Scruggs the "most important banjo player that ever lived" while reporting of his passing on his Twitter.com page.