Reed Died Sunday At Age 71

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A candlelight vigil and memorial luncheon was held in honor of legendary musician Lou Reed in his childhood hometown of Freeport.

Reed, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who graduated Freeport High School in 1959, died Sunday morning of an ailment related to his recent liver transplant. He was 71.

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Reed was the leader of the 1960s cult band Velvet Underground before embarking on a solo career.

The punk-rock poet had one top 20 hit with the song, “Walk on the Wild Side,” and influenced generations of musicians with the Velvet Underground classics “Heroin,” “Sweet Jane,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” “All Tomorrow’s Parties” and “Satellite of Love.”

Michael Epstein shows pictures of Lou Reed performing on Long Island in 1977. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Michael Epstein shows pictures of Lou Reed performing on Long Island in 1977. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Dozens of people, including government and school officials, fans and musicians, attended Wednesday’s event at the Hudsons on the Mile restaurant on Woodcleft Avenue.

“We came 600 miles, drove about 11 hours yesterday door-to-door,” said Timothy Ide, who runs a Lou Reed fan club in northwest Ohio. “Lou is the king.”

Michael “Eppy” Epstein, the founder of the famed Long Island club My Father’s Place, brought photographs of Lou Reed playing at the club in 1977.

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“When he got on stage he played long sets, did three encores and it was like he never left the stage in all those years of being away from it since the Velvet Underground broke up,” Epstein said.

No family members attended the event.

Officials read a message to the crowd that was written by Reed’s sister, which read in part:

“He was very proud of how Freeport recovered after Hurricane Sandy. In the past Lou was conflicted about his Long Island roots. But he was still a Freeport resident at heart. Freeport was his home.”

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