– The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Fred Milano, who made rock and roll history on doo-wop hits with Dion and the Belmonts in the 1950s and continued to perform while starting a late-in-life career with the New York City Department of Correction, has died.

Milano, who was 72, died Sunday, three weeks after his lung cancer was diagnosed, said Warren Gradus, who joined the Belmonts in 1963. Milano lived with his wife in Massapequa, on Long Island, and died in a hospital, Gradus said.

Dion DiMucci, the lead singer who left the Belmonts in 1960, said on his Facebook page Tuesday, “May he rest in peace and rock on in heaven.”

Milano and three friends from the Bronx formed the Belmonts in the mid-1950s, borrowing their name from the borough’s Belmont Avenue. They became Dion and the Belmonts after DiMucci joined in 1958.

Milano sang tenor on hits like “A Teenager in Love” and “Where or When.”

The Belmonts continued to perform and to record after DiMucci left. Gradus said Milano was performing with the Belmonts just weeks ago.

Strife arose when DiMucci was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without the Belmonts members in 1989.

In his Facebook posting, DiMucci said Milano “was very savvy with harmonies” and added, “We had our ups and downs through the years but that’s how things go in families, even rock-and-roll families.”

Milano went back to school in middle age and joined the Department of Correction in 2003.

As a legal coordinator, he helped Rikers Island jail inmates research their cases and taught a legal research class, said Karen Powell, the department’s law libraries director.

Powell said Milano had more energy than colleagues two decades younger and “was a person who really loved life.”