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Singer, songwriter, provocateur and politician Kinky Friedman dead at 79

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Singer, songwriter, satirist and novelist Kinky Friedman, who led the alt-country band Texas Jewboys, toured with Bob Dylan, sang with Willie Nelson, and dabbled in politics with campaigns for Texas governor and other statewide offices, has died.

Friedman, 79, died Thursday at his family’s Texas ranch near San Antonio, close friend Kent Perkins told The Associated Press. Friedman had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for several years, Perkins said.

“He died peacefully. He smoked a cigar, went to bed and never woke up,” said Perkins, who was working as an actor when he met Friedman at a party 50 years ago when both were signed to Columbia records and movie contracts.

“We were the only two people with tuxedos and cowboys hats. Two Texans gravitating toward each other,” Perkins said. “He was the last free person on earth… He had an irreverence about him. He was a fearless writer.”

Often called “The Kinkster” and sporting sideburns, a thick mustache and cowboy hat, Friedman earned a cult following and reputation as a provocateur throughout his career across musical and literary genres.

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