Barney "Banjo" McKenna

  • "You were the Best, We will all miss you. Now the Angles can..."
    - Bob Barrett
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  • "Saw the splendid performance at Leeds Grand Theatre on..."
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  • "Sorry to hear of Banjo's death. I pray that his family,..."
    - Robyn
  • "Dear ol' Barney, you enriched all of our lives with your..."

Barney McKenna (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
DUBLIN (AP) - Friends and authorities say "Banjo" Barney McKenna, the last original member of the Irish folk band The Dubliners, has died. He was 72 and had just marked his 50th year with the band.

Eyewitnesses say McKenna was drinking tea with friends in his home Thursday and appeared to fall asleep. He couldn't be revived and was pronounced dead at a Dublin hospital.

McKenna was considered the most influential banjo player in Irish folk music. He spent a half-century performing, recording and touring with the band since its 1962 creation in the Dublin pub O'Donoghue's. The other three founders - Ronnie Drew, Ciaran Bourke and Luke Kelly - died in 2008, 1988 and 1984 respectively.

McKenna received a standing ovation at his final Dublin performance Wednesday.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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