Dick Dale, ’King of the Surf Guitar, dead at 81

Dick Dale said in 2015 that he would ‘physically and literally’ die if he stopped touring, because he needed to pay for medical supplies to stay alive.

Dick Dale, ’King of the Surf Guitar, dead at 81
Dick Dale, known as 'The King of the Surf Guitar,' performs at B.B. King Blues Club in New York Sunday, May 27, 2007.

Dick Dale, a pioneering guitarist known as the "King of the Surf Guitar," died Sunday at the age of 81, according to multiple reports.

California Rocker was first to report the news. Dale's live bassist, Sam Bolle, confirmed Dale's death to the Guardian.

While no cause of death has been revealed, Dale has suffered from multiple health issues through the years.

In 2015, he told the Pittsburgh City Paper that "I can't stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die."

The surf rock legend had battled rectal cancer twice and was in renal failure at the time, but refused to go on dialysis. He told the paper that he needed to tour to raise the $3,000 per month to pay for medical supplies so he could change his colostomy bag more frequently than insurance would allow.

According to The Guardian, his 1961 single “Let’s Go Trippin'” is considered the first surf rock instrumental and has been seen as launching the 1960s craze.

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