Earl Scruggs Earl Scruggs

Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, the banjo-playing musician who recorded  The Beverly Hillbillies' theme song," has died. He was 88.

Scruggs died Wednesday of natural causes at a Nashville hospital, his son, Gary Scruggs, told CNN.

Besides playing "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the theme for the Hillbillies during its nine-year run on CBS, Scruggs is best known for his three-finger picking style that popularized the banjo as an instrument and the bluegrass genre as a whole.

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"I realize his popularity throughout the world went way beyond just bluegrass and country music," his son Gary Scruggs said. "It was more than that."

Scruggs married Anne Louise Certain in 1948. She later became the business manager of his band, The Foggy Mountain Boys. They were married for more than 57 years until she died in 2006.

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The Foggy Mountain Boys' instrumental single "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," released in 1949, was featured in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

Scruggs and his fellow band member Lester Flatt were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. They were also the first inductees in the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1991.

Scruggs has two sons, Gary and Randy, who are both accomplished musicians and songwriters. They joined their father on the 1973 album, The Earl Scruggs Revue.