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Pete Seeger, the iconic banjo-strumming folk singer and activist who performed for migrant workers and presidents, died on Monday. He was 94.
Seeger, whose songwriting credits include "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," died of natural causes in a New York City hospital, his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson confirmed to NBC News early Tuesday.
“He thought everyone could be heroic,” Seeger's grandson said.
As a member of the Communist Party in the 1940s, Seeger's skepticism of those in power carried through his career. He was a longtime supporter of the labor movement, and backed the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Seeger was also convicted of contempt of Congress after refusing to answer questions at the House Un-American Activities Committee.
He sang at a concert marking Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. President Bill Clinton hailed him as "an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them."
Seeger was credited with popularizing "We Shall Overcome," which became a civil rights anthem, although he said his contribution to the actual song was minimal.
In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.