BY ANTHONY MARTINEZ
The legendary “Pianist to the Presidents”, Roger Williams died Saturday at the age of 87 in his California home due to complications of pancreatic cancer. His death marks the second loss of pancreatic cancer this past week since the late Steve Jobs. CBS takes a look at Williams and his euphonic life.
“Williams played for eight U.S. Presidents, from Harry Truman to George H. W. Bush. His 1995 recording of “Autumn Leaves” remains the top piano hit of all time, according to Billboard Magazine.”
Starting to hit the keys at age three, and then the tightropes boxing later during high school, Williams had a drive that led him straight to the top of the charts with his biggest hit, “Autumn Leaves” though Kapp Records. But NBC Los Angles reports Williams was always destined for greatness.
“Eventually, he would record 18 gold or platinum albums. Williams was also the first pianist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…On his 75th birthday, he played a 12-hour marathon at Steinway Hall in New York City, a stunt he repeated several times in the following years.”
Not to mention, he had practice. It’s been reported that Williams played for eight hours at a time each day. Even when he was diagnosed with pediatric cancer in 2011, according to CNN he never showed signs of drawback.
“Williams played and practiced eight hours a day. She said he continued to do so into his final days, adding that his cancer didn't affect his sunny demeanor or sharp mind.”
And Daily Gossip reports, “I know there are a lot of you out there who are fighting this as well – or have a loved one or friend or neighbor in the same battle”, Williams said. He also encouraged other people with the disease to fight it instead of “laying back and die”.
Williams will be buried in a mausoleum at the Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens. It’s noted that his room has a lighted stained glass panel with a man in a white suit playing a piano.
Transcript by Newsy.