Rock and roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis is still alive, his rep confirms to Closer, despite reports that the “Great Balls of Fire” icon died in Memphis on Wednesday, October 26, at the age of 87.

Jerry Lee was part of rock’s birth with his 1957 debut single, “Whole Lot of Shakin Goin’ On.” His wild piano-playing skills made him a star attraction in concert and earned him the nickname “The Killer.” He went on to release a number of other hits including “Breathless” and “High School Confidential.”

The singer was born in Ferriday, Louisiana, on September 29, 1935. Though his family lived in poverty, his parents mortgaged their farm when Jerry was 14 to purchase his first piano, an instrument he taught himself to play at the age of nine. Jerry’s first performance was in November 1949, where he played a set of R&B covers at a car dealership in Ferriday.

Jerry moved to Nashville in 1955, where he performed at local clubs but was turned down by the Grand Ole Opry. He relocated to Memphis, where legendary Sun Records was building the burgeoning rock and roll genre thanks to artists like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Jerry played piano as a session musician for a number of the label’s artists, including Johnny Cash. “Whole Lot of Shakin Goin’ On” would break Jerry out from behind others’ music and establish him as a solo act.

His iconic song “Great Balls of Fire” was released in November 1957 and would go on to become Jerry’s biggest hit. But the rocker’s career was thrown into turmoil in 1958, when it was revealed that his third wife, Myra Gale Brown, was his 13-year-old cousin once removed at the time of their marriage, when Jerry was 22.

The Louisiana native has been married seven times, with his first marriage taking place in 1952 when Jerry was 16. He married a preacher’s daughter, Dorothy Barton, though their union ended 20 months later. His final marriage was in 2012 to wife Judy, who was the ex-wife of Myra Gale Brown’s brother. Jerry has a total of six children from his various marriages, though two tragically died. Son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in 1962 at the age of three, and Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. died at the age of 19 in 1973 in a Jeep accident.

The movie Great Balls of Fire! about the early days of Jerry’s career was released in 1989, starring actor Dennis Quaid as the piano playing rocker. Actress Winona Ryder played the role of wife Myra.

Jerry suffered a stroke in March 2019, though his neurologist gave him a positive prognosis. “Jerry Lee Lewis is expected to fully recover with aggressive and intensive rehab. From what I have seen thus far, he is heading in the right direction,” Dr. Rohini Bhole said at the time.

The musician’s career was still active at the time of his medical crisis, as he had to cancel appearances at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and several other concerts at the time of his stroke.