D.J. Fontana, the last remaining member of Elvis Presley’s original group, “passed away in his sleep” on Wednesday night, his son David Fontana confirmed on Facebook.
Fontana, who played drums with Presley from 1954-68, was 87 years old. “He was very comfortable with no pain,” David Fontana added. “We ask for privacy at this time. Thank you for your love and prayers.”
Dominic Joseph Fontana, who was born March 15, 1931, in Shreveport, La., played on Presley’s most important and well-known recordings – including “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” He followed jazz drummers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, rather than country guys. That offbeat feel immediately piqued Presley’s interest.