Ford passed away on Monday (28Sep15) in his native Gretna, Louisiana. Mike Shepherd, executive director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and longtime friend of Ford explains the singer had been confined to his bed over the summer (15) while fighting an undisclosed illness.

Ford's career began in the 1950s when he caught the attention of record producers in New Orleans, who were keen on finding local teen idols. He released his best-known song, Sea Cruise, in 1959 and the track became a top 20 hit on both the U.S. pop and R&B charts.

"Frankie came along at the right time," Shepherd tells New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune. "They were making teen idols. He had the look, and he absolutely had the best voice of all of them."

Known as the New Orleans Dynamo, Ford toured the U.S. alongside greats such as Chuck Berry and Frankie Avalon.

After a brief stint in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s, he returned home and continued to perform across America and Europe into the 1980s.

Ford was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010.