Peggy Sue Gerron, the inspiration for Buddy Holly‘s 1957 hit song, has died in Lubbock, Texas, at 78.

While the focus of Holly’s single, Peggy Sue was actually in a relationship with Holly’s bandmate in The Crickets, Jerry Allison.

Sue and Allison married in 1958, inspiring Holly’s song, “Peggy Sue Got Married,” which was released posthumously. Holly recorded the song on a home tape recorder in December 1958, just two months before his plane would crash in Iowa, killing him along with singer Ritchie Valens, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and the pilot. That day, February 3, 1959, famously became known as “the day the music died” in Don McLean‘s song “American Pie.”

Gerron died early Monday at the University Medical Center in Lubbock.

Born in Olton, Texas, in 1940, Gerron grew up in Lubbock and went to high school with Allison and Holly.

Allison and Gerron were married for nine years. After her divorce, Gerron went to Pasadena Junior College in California and became a dental assistant. She then met her second husband, according to her website, and had two children before starting a plumbing and sewer cleaning business.

Gerron returned to Lubbock in the mid-1990s to care for her mother and to write her memoir. That memoir, however, was not universally welcomed: Holly’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, threatened to sue Gerron over the book, claiming it contained fictionalized events.

Funeral arrangements for Gerron have not been announced yet, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.

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Friends and family told local news outlets that Gerron would be remembered for being “plain good to people” in her hometown, where she could often be heard on local radio sharing stories about Holly.

 

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