Publisher and author Paul Williams, whose work as the founder and editor of the groundbreaking music magazine Crawdaddy! made him a beloved figure for generations of rock fans, passed away on March 27 following a long struggle with early-onset Alzheimer's.

The news was shared by Williams' wife, singer/songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill, who turned to Facebook to tell friends and followers that he "passed away last night 10:30pm PST while his oldest son was holding his hand and by his side. It was a gentle and peaceful passing."

Williams' medical woes stemmed from a 1995 bicycle accident, the injuries from which triggered the Alzheimer's symptoms that eventually led to his untimely death. Berryhill chronicled their life together following the accident at her personal site, sharing the unflinching details of Williams' condition while establishing a support fund to help defray the mounting costs of his care.

The accident brought a tragically early end to one of rock criticism's most intelligent voices, cutting short a career that started with Williams' founding of Crawdaddy! in 1966 and continued over several decades of insightful commentary that included several books and a productive stint for Rolling Stone. Although he left Crawdaddy! in 1968, Williams was always closely identified with the magazine, and when he revived the imprint in 1993, it appeared to be the bright beginning of a new era.

Williams' second Crawdaddy! run concluded in 2003, but the magazine lives on; in recent years, the brand was absorbed by Wolfgang's Vault, where readers can currently browse back issues for free.