Ahmet Ertegun Dies

Atlantic Records founding chairman Ahmet Ertegun died December 14th at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center. Ertegun, 83, had been in an intensive care unit at the hospital since falling at a Rolling Stones concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre October 29th.

“Mr. Ertegun suffered a severe brain injury after he fell in October. He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside,” Dr. Howard A. Riina, Ertegun’s neurosurgeon at the hospital, said in a statement released by Atlantic Records.

Ertegun will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey. A memorial service will be conducted in New York after the New Year, according to the statement.

Atlantic Records was co-founded in 1947 by Ertegun and his brother Nesuhi, who died in 1989, as independent label with $10,000 in financing from their family dentist. With the addition of Jerry Wexler as a partner in 1953, Atlantic was soon transformed into a major player in jazz, pop, R&B and eventually rock n roll.

Ertegun was a legend in the music business and had an uncanny ability to discover artists who would be successful. Over the years Atlantic’s roster included Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin.

Ertegun also founded the New York Cosmos soccer team and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, and the museum’s main exhibition hall was renamed in his honor in 1995.