New York — Dave Van Ronk, a New York-born guitarist and singer who was at the forefront of the Greenwich Village folk boom, has died following treatment for colon cancer. He was 65.
Van Ronk died Sunday of cardio-pulmonary failure at New York University Medical Center, said Mitch Greenhill, his longtime manager. He was diagnosed with cancer last fall.
A prolific musician who was nominated for a Grammy, Van Ronk offered his home as a hangout for fellow musicians in the 1960s. Among them was a young Bob Dylan.
"People were always stopping by," Greenhill said. "He (Van Ronk) was one of the few guys who was working at a pretty high level who went out of his way to be friendly."
Born in Brooklyn, Van Ronk started living in Greenwich Village by the time he was a teen-ager. His first album, "Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual" was released in 1957.
He opened his home to Dylan when the artist arrived in New York in the 1960s. Inspired by a haunting version of "House of the Rising Sun," released by Van Ronk, Dylan performed it on his debut album.
They also appeared together in 1974 with other singers at a benefit for Chilean political prisoners.
Asked over the years about his relationship with Dylan, Van Ronk always played down his influence on Dylan by saying, "He was as big an influence on me as I was on him," said Greenhill, who knew Van Ronk for more than 40 years.
Van Ronk spent 40 years on tour and made at least 26 albums. His most recent was last year's "Sweet and Lowdown," a return to his jazz roots.
He received a Grammy nomination in 1996 for his record "From ... Another Time and Place." He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers.