NEW YORK-Buckwheat Zydeco, the accordion player who found an unexpected mainstream audience with the danceable genre of Louisiana's Creole community, died Saturday. He was 68. The artist, whose real name was Stanley Dural Jr, had been suffering from lung cancer. His manager, Ted Fox, wrote on his website that Buckwheat died at 1:32 am (0632 GMT), "keeping musicians' hours right to the bitter end." Buckwheat grew up in a musical family immersed in the sounds of zydeco, which has similarities to the blues but is defined by a faster-paced, up-tempo sound

"My dad played the accordion for family entertainment. He played the accordion every day, in the morning before work, when he came home for lunch and after supper," he said in a 2014 interview with the Nuvo newspaper of Indianapolis. Before Buckwheat, the music was seldom heard outside of the homes of Louisiana Creoles, the people of the southern US state with blended African, French and indigenous roots. But after winning critical acclaim in the 1980s, Buckwheat's band became the first zydeco act signed by a major record, Island. He went on to record with Eric Clapton and played concerts with other major acts, including U2, The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and Paul Simon.

He also performed before wide audiences at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and at parties around Bill Clinton's two presidential inaugurations.

Buckwheat had not expected his music to enter the mainstream. He grew up playing the organ and choosing funk and more modern forms instead of zydeco.

But Buckwheat changed course after he started to play organ with Clifton Chenier - a friend of his father considered the master of zydeco accordion - and saw the virtues of taking up the accordion himself. Asked in a 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Times about his success, Buckwheat said: "I'm glad to see what's happening right now, but I surely in my heart wish that it had happened for somebody who worked so hard like Clifton Chenier, the master."

On his 2009 album "Lay Your Burden Down," he returned to the organ - and turned more to R&B sounds. The album won him his first Grammy after multiple nominations. The Recording Academy in a statement mourned the "music heavyweight."