CA/RedfernsEarly-’60s pop idol Bobby Vee died early Monday from complications of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 73, the St. Cloud Times reports. A longtime resident of the St. Cloud suburb of Avon, Minnesota, the singer had been in hospice care at a memory-care facility in Rogers, Minnesota, where he’d lived for the past 13 months.

Born Robert Velline in Fargo, North Dakota, Vee came to fame as a teenager when he and his band The Shadows joined the Winter Dance Party tour after the tragic 1959 plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Vee went on to score more than a dozen top-40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1960 through 1968, including “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “Run to Him,” which reached #1 and #2, respectively, in 1961.

In an interesting historical note, Bob Dylan briefly played piano in Vee’s band early in his career and, according to the Star Tribune, always remembered the singer’s kindness. At a 2013 show in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dylan praised Vee — who attended the concert — as “the most beautiful person I’ve ever been on the stage with” and played a cover of his early hit “Suzie Baby.”

Vee was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January 2011 and continued to perform until July of that year.

“It’s kind of a blessing,” Dr. Rick Rysavy, Vee’s doctor and good friend, told the newspaper of his passing. “There was no reason for him to suffer any longer.”

Bobby is predeceased by his wife of more than 50 years, Karen, who died last year at age 71. He is survived by his daughter and three sons.

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