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Scott McKenzie, "San Francisco" Singer and "Kokomo" Hitmaker, Dead at 73

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Scott McKenzie
Scott McKenzie Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Scott McKenzie, whose hit song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" became a beloved anthem for hippies during the summer of 1967, died Saturday in Los Angeles, according to a statement on his website.

He was 73.

McKenzie had been suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that impacts the nervous system, which had left him hospitalized numerous times over the last two years.

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"Scott had been very ill recently and passed away in his home after two weeks in hospital," the statement read, noting that he had suffered a heart attack earlier this month. "Farewell our much loved and wonderful friend."

"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" had become a musical touchstone for 1967's famed "Summer of Love." The song, which McKenzie sang, had been written by his childhood friend, The Mamas and the Papas' John Phillips.

The two met as teenagers in Virginia, where they formed a doo-wop band called The Abstracts and eventually moved to New York City.

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Phillips went on to form The Mamas and the Papas, and McKenzie reportedly turned down an invitation to join the band, opting instead to strike out solo.

He released two solo albums before moving to Virginia Beach, where he later kept a low profile.

As a songwriter, McKenzie found fame for writing the catchy 1988 tune "Kokomo," which became a No. 1 hit for The Beach Boys and marked their late-'80s surge.

He also toured with The Mamas and the Papas in the 1990s.

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