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B.B. Cunningham, Jerry Lee Lewis' Keyboardist and Hombres Member, Dead at 70 in Shootout

B.B. Cunningham Leon Bennett / WENN

B.B. Cunningham, a longtime keyboardist and backup singer for legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis as well as leader of his own band the Hombres, was gunned down early Sunday morning in Memphis. He was 70.

Per Memphis' Commercial Appeal, Cunningham had been working as a security guard at an apartment complex in the southeast part of the city when he heard a gunshot in the neighboring Cherry Crest Apartments around 2 a.m. and went to check it out.

Upon arrival, officers found the bodies of the musician and an unidentified 16-year-old boy, both of whom sustained gunshot wounds.

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Authorities are still searching for suspects.

Born Blake Baker Cunningham Jr., the rocker first garnered attention in the mid-'60s touring with Ronnie and the Daytonas, who were famed for their song "G.T.O."

Cunningham and some of the other members later founded the Hombres, best known for their 1967 hit "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)," which maintains popularity to this day having been featured in Cameron Crowe's 2005 film Elizabethtown and various Foster's Lager beer ads.

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The Hombres subsequently went their separate ways, and Cunningham ended up going to work as an engineer and producer at Memphis' iconic Sounds of Memphis Studios. He later moved to L.A. where he acted as chief engineer for music stars including Elton John, Lou Rawls and Billy Joel.

In 1997, Cunningham returned to the spotlight upon joining Lewis' band on the keys and continued to tour with the "Great Balls of Fire" crooner over the years. He also released a solo album, Hangin' In, in 2003.

Cunningham is survived by his brother, syndicated radio host and conservative commentator Bill Cunningham.

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