Mary Travers of "Peter, Paul and Mary" dies, age 72

Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:43pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mary Travers, one-third of the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary who helped popularize the work of Bob Dylan and sang hits such as "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," has died, aged 72, after battling leukemia.

A statement on the group's website on Wednesday said Travers succumbed "to the side effects of one of the chemotherapy treatments" she was undergoing to fight cancer.

Bandmate Peter Yarrow said that in her last months, Travers handled her declining health "in the bravest, most generous way imaginable." Throughout her long career, he said, Travers sang with honesty and complete authenticity.

"I believe that, in the most profound of ways, Mary was incapable of lying, as a person, and as an artist," Yarrow said. "That took great courage, and Mary was always equal to the task."

The New York Times quoted Travers' spokeswoman, Heather Lylis, as saying the folk singer died at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut.

Travers, known for her strong voice and long, blond hair, performed alongside guitarists Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey in one of folk music's most popular acts.

The group's version of "Blowin' in the Wind" by a young Bob Dylan helped transform the song into a civil rights anthem and introduced his music to a wider audience.

The group also scored big hits with "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," co-written by folk artist Pete Seeger.

Along with "Puff," the group's other hits were "Lemon Tree," and "Leaving on a Jet Plane."   Continued...

<p>Honorees Paul Stookey, Mary Travers and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary arrive at the 2006 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York June 15, 2006. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>