Antoine “Fats” Domino, one of the pioneers of early rock’n’roll music known for his piano playing, died Tuesday. An official confirmed to CNN that Domino died at the age of 89 in Louisiana due to natural causes.
Domino was known for such hits as “Ain’t That a Shame, “Blueberry Hill” and “Blue Monday” and influenced many of rock’s biggest stars like Paul McCartney and Randy Newman. His work in the music industry helped make his hometown of New Orleans one of the the most popular cities for music in the United States.
Domino got married to Rosemary Hall in 1948 and they stayed together until her death in 2008.
Here’s what you need to know about Fats and Rosemary:
1. Fats & Rosemary Got Married in 1948 & Had 8 Children Together
Fats and Rosemary met when he was starting up in the music industry, and they got married in 1948. They had eight children together, all whose name start with the letter “A”: Antonio, Adonica, Antoinette, Andre, Andrea, Anola, Anatole and Antoine III.
In 1991 while touring in England, Fats suffered a health scare. He’d already toured the globe for over 20 years and decided that it was in his best interests to live at home from then on, rarely leaving New Orleans. There, he and Rosemary lived with their eight children off of royalties that he received from his anthology of recordings.
2. Fats & His Family Were Reported Missing After Hurricane Katrina & Feared Dead
Of course, New Orleans is the place that Hurricane Katrina ravaged in August 2005 when water from the Mississippi River broke through levees and caused catastrophic damage in the city. As Katrina approached the city, Fats and his wife were urged to leave the city. But they opted to stay at home with their family partly because Rosemary was in poor health.
After the storm, his home and the surrounding area were badly flooded. In the recovery effort, someone thought he was dead and spray painted, “RIP Fats. You will be missed.” In the days that followed, hi talent agent announced that he hadn’t heard from Fats or his family since the hurricane struck. Hours after issuing the statement, Fats and his family were rescued from their home by a United States Coast Guard helicopter. According to The Washington Post, were taken to a shelter in Baton Rouge and happened to be picked up by JaMarcus Russell, the former No. 1 overall selection in 2007 NFL Draft who was the starter for LSU at the time.
Russell reportedly let them stay at his apartment, where they slept for three nights on his couch.
“We lost everything,” Fats told The Post.
Months later, work to repair his home during the reconstruction phase started, and his family lived temporarily in nearby Harvey, Louisiana.
3. Rosemary Died in April 2008 After Health Issues
Rosemary was one of five Hall children and was born in New Orleans. It’s unclear how the couple met in the first place. However, after 60 years of marriage, Rosemary died unexpectedly in April 2008. It’s unclear how she died, but it’s been noted in numerous publications that she had deteriorating health for years. Her death “dealt (Fats) another blow,” NOLA.com reported in 2013.
“He’s missing her,” Charisse Smith, the Domino’s 35-year-old granddaughter, told KSLA. “My grandmother was there for him every day, all day. Her presence is definitely missed.”
4. Fats Wrote a Song Dedicated to Rosemary During the 1960s
After 15 years of marriage, Fats dedicated a song to Rosemary which appeared on 1963’s Here Comes…Fats Domino. The song has the typical Domino vibe to it on the piano and has lyrics dedicated to his wife.
“If you see Rosemary, tell her I’m comin’ home to stay,” he sings during the song. “Tell her I’m tired of travlin’ out here, can’t go on this way.”
The song seems to reference Fats’ time spent away from home and his family.
“Every nite when I’m travlin’ meet a friend,” he sings. “Tell ’em I’m comin’ home to stay. So, if you see Rosemary, tell her, tell her I’m on my way. When I get back home, I’m gonna hold Rosemary in my arms. Never more to travel, never more to roam.”
There was two versions of the song: an instrumental and one with the referenced lyrics.
5. Fats & His Family Have a Net Worth of Around $8 Million
Although Fats rarely toured in his later hears, he had a reported 2017 net worth of about $8 million, according to TheRichest.com.
Fats found his way into the industry when he was discovered by a New Orleans band leader named Billy Diamond. He discovered Fats in 1947, one year before he and Rosemary got married. The climax of his musical career was during the 1960s and 1970s and helped make him a musical legend.
Over his lifetime, Fats received all sorts of awards and recognition from groups. In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was presented the National Medal of Arts by former President Bill Clinton in 1998.