DJ Fontana dead: Elvis Presley’s legendary drummer dies age 87

Jennifer ruby
Rock legend: DJ Fontana has died at the age of 87: WireImage

Elvis Presley’s legendary drummer, DJ Fontana, has died at the age of 87, his family has confirmed.

The prolific musician, who was the last surviving member of The King’s original band, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday night.

Confirming the news in an emotional Facebook post, his son Daniel Fontana said that his father had been “comfortable with no pain” at the time of his death.

“I told everyone that I would keep you posted. My Dad passed away in his sleep at 9:33 tonight,” he wrote.

Collaborators: Elvis Presley and DJ Fontana (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

“He was very comfortable with no pain. I will post more tomorrow when I have more information. We ask for privacy at this time. Thank you for your love and prayers.”

A message posted by the Sun Studio in Tennessee, where Elvis began his career, read: “We are extremely saddened to hear about the passing of legendary drummer D.J. Fontana. The band is all back together now.”

The drummer, born Dominic Joseph Fontana, but known as DJ, played on many of Presley’s biggest hits including Heartbreak Hotel and Jailhouse Rock.

The Louisiana-born star joined forces with Presley back in 1954, with the band originally calling themselves The Blue Moon Boys.

The band parted ways in 1958 but Presley and Fontana continued to work together during the 1960s.

Talking about developing their sound in 1996 book Go Cat Go, he said: “I learned the value of simplicity at the Hayride. I heard Scotty and Bill and Elvis one night and knew that I couldn't mess up that sound.

“That's why I always play what I feel. If that won't work, I just won't do it again. I think the simple approach comes from my hearing so much big band music. I mixed it with rockabilly.”

Fontana inducted into the Rockabilly hall of Fame in 2009.