Russ Gibb, the radio DJ behind the famous Beatles "Paul is Dead" conspiracy has died. At 87 years old, Gibb succumbed to congestive heart failure.

Gibb was just a part-time radio personality in Dearborn, Mich. when he picked up a call that would change Beatlemania. In 1969, a WKNR listener claimed Paul McCartney was dead and had been replaced by a lookalike. The proof? Playing “Revolution 9” backwards would reveal the phrase “turn me on, dead man.”

The caller claimed McCartney had been dead since 1966, when the infamous “I buried Paul” line was thought to be uncovered from “Strawberry Fields Forever.” In reality, John Lennon had said “cranberry sauce.”

Gibb rode the hype, helping turn McCartney’s death hoax into a cultural phenomenon. "The whole thing just exploded," Gibb later recalled. "The phones were ringing off the hook. People were calling with their own clues. It was nonstop. For a while, it seemed like it might really be true."

Beyond radio, Gibb operated the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, which saw performances from Led Zeppelin, The Who, Cream, Janis Joplin, The Stooges and plenty more.

We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Russ Gibb during this difficult time.

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