American folk legend Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94. He passed away on Monday (January 27) at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital from natural causes, the New York Times reports.
Seeger's storied, decades-long career saw his fingerprints all over popular music as we know it. Beginning in the 1940s, his music was tied to various protest movements, as he was active in myriad causes spanning from the labour movement through civil rights marches, Vietnam War protests and environmental causes.
His work was also integral in the folk revival of the 1950s, continuing through the following decades as he became a folk icon.
Bob Dylan and Don McLean were just a handful of the many artists who saw Seeger as a mentor, while Bruce Springsteen covered his work on the 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
In addition to popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome" as a protest anthem, Seeger was responsible for numerous hits. With the Weavers, he performed "Goodnight, Irene" and "If I Had a Hammer." Later, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" gained in popularity as a protest song. The Byrds' cover of Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" was a number one hit.
Seeger's penchant for political activism followed him throughout his career, and made him as many friends as enemies. In the '50s, he was convicted for contempt of Congress by the House Un-American Activities Committee. In 2009, Seeger teamed up with Springsteen to perform Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" at Barrack Obama's inauguration.
Pete Seeger's wife Toshi passed away last July, but he is survived by his son Daniel and his daughters Mika and Tinya.