Eddie Blazonczyk won the National Endowment for the Arts 1998 National Heritage Fellowship award, which was presented to him by then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
Grammy Award-winning polka music great Eddie Blazonczyk has died at age 70.
Blazonczyk's record label, Bel-Aire Recordings, says Blazonczyk died Monday of natural causes at a hospital in the Chicago suburb of Palos Heights.
Blazonczyk was known as the "Polka King" and started his own polka music label in the 1960s. He retired in 2001 after suffering health problems.
The native Chicagoan was of Polish descent and started playing in the 1950s with "Happy Eddie and his Polka Jesters." He went on to form the "Versatones" and tour the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe.
Blazonczyk was a founding member of the International Polka Association, a disc jockey and a polka music promoter.
He won a Grammy in 1987 for Best Polka Recording for "Another Polka Celebration."