MEMPHIS, Tenn.– It was a sad day for the Mid-South Thursday as hundreds gathered at the Hernando Funeral Home to say goodbye to rock-and-roll turned country legend Jerry Lee Lewis and pay their respects to him and his family.

Unlike the rest of the world mourning Jerry Lee Lewis’ death, a lot of the people at Thursday’s visitation also knew “The Killer” personally, including the folks at Sun Studios where Jerry Lee recorded some of his first and most famous hits.

Jerry Phillips, son of Sun Studio founder Sam Phillips, remembers growing up with Jerry Lee hanging out at his house, playing the piano in his living room. 

“JLL was as big a star as anyone on the planet, and I said yesterday, one of the greatest talents in music has left the planet and earth won’t be the same,” Phillips said.

He said Jerry Lee is a man worth celebrating. 

FILE – Jerry Lee Lewis props his foot on the piano as he lays back and acknowledges the applause of fans during the fifth annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival at New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 14, 1975. Spokesperson Zach Furman said Lewis died Friday morning, Oct. 28, 2022, at his home in Memphis, Tenn. He was 87. (AP Photo/Rene Perez, File)

“He’s just been a great friend, a great person to know. I’m proud to say I’ve known him that long. He was always a wonderful person,” Phillips said.

The same is said for fans, music lovers, impersonators, and personal friends that waited in line at the funeral home Thursday. Musicians Richard Ray and Gene O’Neal knew Jerry Lee for more than 50 years. 

“We had played together for many years. He was a great guy, world-known. Just like the guy down at the gas station, good guy,” said Richard Ray.

They said they loved him, there was no one else like him, and he will leave a lasting impact on Memphis and the world. 

“It is amazing, it makes a smaller world. Anywhere he was known, any stage, he’s been on them all. He’s done this thing and proven to the world he’s the greatest and he was,” said Gene O’Neal.

While everyone here had a different connection to Lewis, they all agreed the world lost one of the best this week. 

Lewis will head to his final resting place in his birthplace of Farraday, Louisiana where he will be buried on Saturday.