Malcolm John Rebennack's family announced on his official Twitter account that the musician died from a heart attack.
Dr. John, a six-time Grammy winner who in his incarnation as the "Night Tripper" brought the New Orleans voodoo vibe to America's music scene and became one of the most venerated pianists in the city's rich musical history died on Thursday at age 77.
The New Orleans native, born Malcolm John Rebennack into a family of amateur musicians, including an aunt who taught him to play piano, died "towards the break of day" from a heart attack, his family announced on his official Twitter account.
Rebennack was immersed in music from a young age and absorbed a blend of rhythm and blues, cowboy songs, gospel and jazz, as well as New Orleans' Mardi Gras music, boogie, barrelhouse piano and funk - or "fonk," as he pronounced it.
He also was a successful record producer, session player and songwriter in New Orleans.
Dr. John recorded some 35 albums, and three of them won Grammys - "Goin' Back to New Orleans" for best tradition album in 1992; "City That Care Forgot" about the destruction and heartbreak of Hurricane Katrina; and 2013's "Locked Down," which touched on his prison time, drugs and efforts to repair his relationship with his children.
He also picked up Grammys for a 1989 duet with Rickie Lee Jones on "Makin' Whoopee" and his contributions on the songs "SRV Shuffle" in 1996 and "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (My Baby)" in 2000.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.