Celebrated lyricist Jerry Leiber, who partnered with composer Mike Stoller to write such iconic hits as Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock and played a key role in the birth of rock 'n' roll, died on Monday at the age of 78.
Leiber died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of cardiopulmonary failure, said Randy Poe, president of his publishing company. Family members of the legendary songwriter were with him when he died.
Launching their collaboration as teenagers in the early '50s, Leiber and Stoller went on to pen more than 200 tunes covered by recording stars such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, James Brown, B B King, The Drifters and Peggy Lee. Presley alone recorded more than 20 Leiber and Stoller songs.
Leiber jokingly referred to their six-decade partnership, chronicled in the 2009 memoir Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, as "the longest-running argument in show business".
"He was my friend, my buddy, my writing partner for 61 years," Stoller, 78, said in a statement released by their publicist. "He had a way with words. There was nobody better. I'm going to miss him."
Their songwriting credits also include rock 'n' roll classics Kansas City, Poison Ivy and the hit Stand By Me, which they co-wrote with singer Ben E King.